Cookeville will launch a new billing software Tuesday.
The city’s Utility Customer Service Department will close on Monday to allow staff to prepare for the launch date. Finance Director Brenda Imel said customers can expect some minor changes during the transition.
“All of our database is being converted to the new system, so the one change that our customers are going to see is they’re going to get a new account number,” Imel said. “They’re also going to see new payment options coming, and we’ll be phasing those in over the first month. What’s not changing is how you apply for service. You can can still pay with cash or a check at the customer service department.”
The city’s bank draft and budget billing programs will not be affected by the change. Imel said customers will also have more payment options under the new system, including a kiosk at city hall and at the electric department.
“We’re going to have an automated phone system that we’re going to be rolling out probably week two. A customer can just make a payment with a card by answering prompts over the phone,” Imel said. “Probably in about week two or week three we are going to be rolling out a new customer portal where you can pay online through the city’s website. We think that customer portal is going to be a lot more extensive and offer a lot more services than what our current online payment system does,”
Imel said customers will eventually have the ability to utilize a new smart app for paying utility bills. A 3rd party processor will assess a 2.45-percent convenience fee for all card payments and a $1 fee for e-checks.
The Cookeville City Council approved the software from Atlanta-based SEDC in February 2018 for a cost of more than $100,000. The city has used its current ASI system since 2003.