City invests in automatic payment system

Paying bills is never fun. Sometimes it’s easy to lose a check or forget to pay a bill; we have all been there. The city is hoping to reduce the stress of this monthly burden by setting up a new automatic payment system for the water utilities bill.

Frank Turner

In early November, Dacotah Bank Market Retail Leader John Hausauer approached the city to pitch the idea of an automatic payment system.
After working out the details, the city ultimately voted to go forward with adopting the automatic payment system in June’s city council meeting.
Hausauer said that he approached the board both on a personal level and on behalf of Dacotah Bank.
“I approached the city because, when I used to live in Rapid City, they had a convenient automatic payment system, and it was something I thought Hettinger could benefit from,” said Hausauer. “Also professionally because, if implemented, the automatic payment system could save Dacotah bank time when processing checks.”
The City of Hettinger also hopes to benefit from the automatic payment system. Much like other online payments, the intent of the automatic system is to save processing time for everyone involved.
In addition to convenience for citizens paying their water bill, City Council member James Lindquist hopes that the new automatic payment system will increase efficiency for workers at the courthouse.
“The automatic payment system takes care of a lot of the accounting work,” said Lindquist. “Hopefully this will free up a little more time. That is one of the main benefits for the City.”
Because the City of Hettinger has accounts with Dacotah Bank, the bank will facilitate the automatic payment. So how does it work?
Hausauer explained, “It’s an agreement between the city and the citizen to automatically pay your water bill directly from your account on a monthly basis.”
According to Hausauer, citizens opting into the automatic payment would only have to sign the agreement once. Once signed, the agreement is in place until dissolved by either the city or the citizen. From there, the system does the rest.
“Every month, your bill will come out and you will be able to see it on your statement,” said Hausauer. “Once the agreement is signed, you are not going to have to remember to write out a check or drop off cash every month.”
The automatic payment system will cost the city a one-time initial cost of $1000 to pay for the software and with an additional $100 annual fee. Lindquist said that even with the cost, introducing this system will ultimately help Hettinger.
“It wasn’t a big cost to the city and it also extends what we can do,” said Lindquist. “We would like to move forward with making things new and open to the younger generation, especially with saving time. We are interested in seeing whether people sign up and utilize this service or not. If people do, they would save a lot of time for our employees at the courthouse.”