Good Question: Water Bills - Where is your money going?

April 04, 2017 07:10 AM

Several viewers noticed something different on their water bills recently. It's not the fees being charged but the address where payments are being sent.

"It's the Monroe County Water Authority not Erie County." Said Mike Flavin.

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He's talking about the mailing address on water bills.

"I noticed it was being mailed to Buffalo. Why is it going to Buffalo and not here? Couldn't people locally be hired to process payments, this is a local agency," Flavin said.

We went to the Water Authority to answer Flavin's question.

"We send our payments to Buffalo because that's where they are processed," said Kathleen Prestidge. She's the Finance Director for the Monroe County Water Authority.

But why are they processed there and not here?

The MCWA does all of its banking with M&T, which is based in Buffalo. Payments are mailed to their offices where they are processed and deposited into the Authority's account.

We asked if the Authority could use a locally headquartered bank.

"We did make that request. During the competitive bidding process to collect a lock box for processing and we did do request for proposals for Rochester banks. Those that responded all proposed processing outside of the area. None of them have local processing facilitie,." Prestidge said.

She also pointed out that M&T has a large Rochester presence and employs hundreds of local people.

“All of our other banking is done with local offices and local managers," Prestidge told us.

The Authority did look at processing all of the payments in house at its headquarters in Rochester but that was deemed to be too expensive. Prestidge says outsourcing to banks is the least expensive option.


Pat Taney

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