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The City of Whitefish recently updated changes to our billing process. As part of the updates to the Rules and Regulations for Water, Sewer, and Garbage Services, the City transitioned to keeping utility accounts in the name of the owner instead of the renter's name.
The change also discontinued the collection of a $150 deposit on new utility accounts. The City refunded all deposits for renters and are in the process of applying the owner's deposits as a credit to their utility account.
We are aware that there have been some challenges with this process. One of these challenges occurred for renters with online bill pay and those who were setup for ACH (automatic withdrawal). When the accounts were switched to the owner's name, a new Web-ID was created, thus making the previous Web-ID invalid. Going forward, renters can set up automatic withdrawal if they receive a copy of the bill with the new Web-ID that is on the bill.
Property owners and authorized property managers need to coordinate with their renters to determine if the renters will receive a copy of the bill or E-bill. If the property owners and/or authorized property managers want the renters to receive a hard copy or an E-Bill, they will need to make the request by email to firstname.lastname@example.org. An original bill will be sent to the owner as they are ultimately responsible to make sure their accounts are paid in full. As a reminder, utility bills not paid by the 20th of each month are considered delinquent and are subject to a late notice, possible door tag with a $25 fee and/or a $50 fee for non-payment and possible disconnection of service.
The City is also transitioning billing for garbage service. The City added a garbage line to utility bills with zero ($0) balance in the month of February. Charges will start with the April 2021 bill for services from March 16th to April 16th. Any outstanding charges and/or credits with Republic Services will need to be coordinated with their customer service representative at 406-862-4381.
The City is working on one additional change to modernize our Online Utility Bill pay service. We are launching a New Online Bill Pay site. When the new site is launched, all customers who choose to pay online will be required to sign up as a "New Customer". Notices will be sent to all account holders before we launch the new Online Bill Pay site, and at that time the old online bill pay site will be deactivated.
We anticipate that the changeover of these processes will require a significant time commitment for City Staff, authorized property managers, and owners of rental properties up front. We believe it will be rewarded with long-term efficiency and results that benefit the community. We will strive to keep everyone informed as we proceed over the next several months. Please contact us for any questions you may have about the transition at 406-863-2457 or by email email@example.com.