MEDFORD, Ore. — Utility bills in Medford have a return address outside of the Rogue Valley.
Medford Public Works employees have been receiving calls about it since this summer when they began issuing its own utility billing.
“The council wanted to make some methodology changes to the way we compute bills, and our previous vendor couldn’t accommodate those changes, so the city went ahead and started sending out bills on our own,” said Cory Crebbin, Public Works Director.
So why is Portland on the return address?
“It’s a Portland P.O. box because that was the post office that had a post office box big enough for the volume of mail that we receive. The Medford Post Office couldn’t give us a P.O. box that was big enough for the utility billing,” Crebbin said.
Crebbin says the city outsourced its billing and receiving work. A company called Bill Trust sends out the payments. Another company, Retail Lock Box, in Seattle, processes the payments and deposits them back to the City of Medford. Crebbin says those companies were chosen because they could handle the load.
“Another question I have had is, why didn’t you hire a Medford firm to do that? And the simple answer is we put out a request for qualifications and no Medford firms responded,” Crebbin said.
Crebbin says it’s a method that will save the city money.
“The total that we’d be over our previous vendor is about $50,000 or $60,000,” Crebbin said.
And Crebbin says it frees up public works to focus on work, instead of billing.
Other cities in the Rogue Valley do their own bill processing in house. Grants Pass, Phoenix and Ashland say city employees provide the billing and payment services.