The Sherman City Council approved a $1.25 convenience fee for accepting online credit or debit card payments for utility bills after a public hearing regarding the fee was held at a meeting in September. Although the public hearing included invitations for Sherman residents to voice their opinions on every new fee and higher tax rate, every one of the three legally required hearings was held without any comment from anyone in the public.

The Sherman City Council approved a $1.25 convenience fee for accepting online credit or debit card payments for utility bills after a public hearing regarding the fee was held at a meeting in September. Although the public hearing included invitations for Sherman residents to voice their opinions on every new fee and higher tax rate, every one of the three legally required hearings was held without any comment from anyone in the public.


Sherman Controller Mary Lawrence said in an interview that the convenience fee is the same amount charged to the City per transaction by the contracted company that processes the payments. "We don’t even see it," Lawrence said. "The company that maintains that website, that’s a fee that they charge."


"It’s a convenience to the customer, because we still have lots of free ways to pay," Lawrence said. She added that only the system for one-time payments with a credit or debit card includes the fee.


Lawrence said the City’s customers can enroll the bank account tied to their charge card for scheduled monthly payments, which doesn’t charge any fee. Lawrence said the automatic bank drafting payment is "really a good deal, because we charge you on the last day the payment is due. If it’s due on the 17th, you’ll get charged on the 17th, and it’s also free."


Sherman utility customers can also pay, with no additional fee, in person at the Municipal Building or by mailing in their payments. Lawrence said the mailed-in payments are sent to a business in Plano for processing.


"The type of company is called a lockbox," Lawrence said, "They open the mail for us, create an electronic file of it, then the posting to our accounts is automatic. It’s a convenience for us, it’s a money saver, it’s a win-win for everybody. Labor is expensive, so it’s just cost-effective for us to use the lockbox."