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Seneca Falls moving to lock box for cash payments

  • / Updated:
  • Staff Report 

Residents of the town of Seneca Falls will no longer be able to pay water and other bills using cash or checks at the Ovid Street municipal building starting June 1.

The Town Board voted 4-1 on March 7 to require payments to be made through a lock-box system at Five Star Bank branches. The town will also have a drop box at the municipal building, and the bank will process and account for the payments.

The switch, with details on the town website, is estimated to cost $5,500 a year. Supervisor Mike Ferrara presented the plan, stating that water bills can still be paid at the municipal building until April 1, and that the new system will not affect those who pay online. Ferrara explained that the handling of cash payments by staff is discouraged by state auditors, and the change will fulfill the town’s obligations to the auditors’ recommendations.

According to Ferrara, Five Star Bank already handles many of the town’s financial functions, and the town will continue to mail water bills to about 4,300 customers. The town accounting office currently employs one person, but Ferrara expects to have two staff members in the future.

Board member Frank Sinicropi stated that the town needs enough staff to handle its workload and provide good service to taxpayers and customers. However, board member Steve Churchill questioned if other banks were considered for this service and argued that the decision should be made by the board instead of the supervisor. Churchill cast the sole opposing vote to the adoption of the new payment system.