Hebron cuts budget, gets new utility billing system

2013-07-17T16:52:00Z 2013-07-17T19:21:10Z Hebron cuts budget, gets new utility billing systemPhil Wieland phil.wieland@nwi.com, (219) 548-4352 nwitimes.com

HEBRON | The Town Council voted to downgrade its 2013 budget and upgrade its billing system Tuesday.

The budget was reduced by $35,000 at the recommendation of Clerk-Treasurer Terri Waywood, who said the reductions involved money she does not expect the town to spend this year. It's the second time in her six years in office the town has done this.

Waywood said she hopes the move will result in the state Department of Local Government Finance approving a little more money in the 2014 budget for road repairs. The council opened bids for repaving five streets Tuesday.

Town and Country was the apparent low bidder at just under $300,000, which is how much the town has to spend this year. Waywood said the state will begin giving communities a bigger share of the gas tax later this year, and she hopes the town will get about $100,000 next year.

The council also approved Waywood's recommendation to switch the utility billing system to Keystone, of Daleville, Ind., which the town already uses for its budget and payroll. Hebron has used Harris Systems for utilities, which is based in Texas and doesn't offer training upgrades the way Keystone does, she said.

The new system will cost $17,675, and Waywood said $10,000 will come from the cigarette tax and the rest will be split by the garbage, stormwater and general funds. Waywood said Keystone is used by all the other communities in the area and provides training seminars.

Customers will notice a difference when the switch is complete. The card now used for the utility bill and which customers complained was easily lost will be replaced with a letter-sized bill with more room at the bottom for messages and a bar code to make it easier to process the bills when people bring them to Town Hall.

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