Utility bills sent to Caldwell?

By Ben Olson
Reader Staff

We hear from our readers about a wide variety of subjects. It’s always an interesting experience getting to the bottom of an issue, no matter how trivial.

One of our readers called this week expressing concern about the City of Sandpoint’s utility bills. When she sends in her payment, she was confused that the bills were sent to Caldwell instead of being processed here in Sandpoint.

I called Shannon Syth, the finance director for the city of Sandpoint, and asked what the deal was.

“In last year’s budget, we had an employee who was retiring,” said Syth. “Since a majority of our residents are making their payments electronically, via the telephone or Internet, we don’t have enough hours to keep a cashier busy.”

Syth said upon the former cashier’s retirement, the city elected not to replace the position but hire a “lock box” system out of Caldwell.

“It’s greater security, actually,” said Syth. “And we can do it for $9,000 per year instead of a part-time person for $27,000.” Syth also pointed out that the city put notices in the first three bills since the change, and it was also in the budget discussions.

So, in case you’re wondering why your utility bills go all the way to Caldwell, that’s why.

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