New billing system goes out to Brady utility customers

The City of Brady is midway through the first billing cycle using the new Incode billing system, and the new billing format has already been noticed by many Brady residents. Beginning Nov. 1, the City switched its billing from the old DOS-based Cameo system to the newer, more modern, Windows-based Incode program. The result is a more simplified and efficient system of billing for Brady City utilities. Coupled with the new program is a new format in the bills themselves. No longer will monthly statements be mailed on postcard-style letters. The bills are now enclosed in an envelope to ensure privacy and included in the envelope is a return envelop with which customers can mail their payments. The first billing cycle went out Nov. 12 and included the majority of residential customers. The second billing will be mostly commercial accounts with the remainder of the residential customers. “This program was designed specifically for municipalities our size,” said Brady City Finance Director Lisa Remini. “The company has a much greater customer support system and has a good track record with other cities our size. They have been in business for 15 years, and all of their customers that we contacted were pleased with the product and service they are receiving.” The $162,000 cost of the software and new hardware on which to run it will be financed by the City over the next few years. Included in the cost is the necessary training and support to ensure proper implementation of the program. “This program will include all general ledger, accounting and utility billing in one program,” said Remini. “The design of the program will facilitate in much easier access of customer information.” Another difference on the most recent bills is the addition of the surcharge that will be used to fund the road refurbishment project. The fund entitled Street Fund is a 2.81 percent charge of the total pre-tax utility bill as provided by a recent ordinance by the City Council. The funds will be used to finance a $2 million project that will resurface streets in Brady. The new billing format will also be used in utility disconnect notices and will include less confusing wording informing customers of their account status. “The envelopes again will ensure privacy of the customer,” said Remini. “We also want senior citizens to know that they should not be penalized for late payments should they show up on their bill. If they are, all they need to do is contact us and verify a few things, and we will get it taken care of as soon as possible.” The new Incode system is part of a future plan by city officials to eventually automate the meter reading and billing to eliminate human error as much as possible. The system is designed to function with hand-held units that are currently being considered as purchases in the near future by the utility department.

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