Rainbow Water District approves lockbox services for bill payment

The Rainbow Municipal Water District will utilize RT Lawrence Corporation for lockbox services which will allow Rainbow customers to pay their utility bills.

Rainbow’s board voted 4-0 with Michael Mack absent, Sept. 26, to approve a professional services agreement with RT Lawrence Corp., which is based in Whittier.

“This is just a way to process the bills more efficiently and free up staff time,” Rainbow general manager Tom Kennedy said. “We’re trying to manage our labor resources more effectively by outsourcing our processing of bills.”

A lockbox service is a third-party service which receives and processes payments on behalf of the agency receiving the payments. Rainbow’s customer service department currently sends approximately 7,800 bills each month, and approximately 3,000 of those are paid by a physical check and processed by customer service staff which must open all payment envelopes, manually enter each check into the financial software system, balance all payments at the end of the day and prepare the checks for deposit in a bank. Planned development within the Rainbow service area could add 1,000 new accounts, so outsourcing the payments will eliminate the need for the district to add staff to process the payments.

Rainbow staff solicited quotes from lockbox vendors and received two formal quotes and one informal quote. RT Lawrence was identified as the most responsible bidder best meeting the needs of the district. Their set prices were at a lower cost, and other water agencies have provided positive recommendations about RT Lawrence. The cost will vary depending on the volume of mail payments but is estimated at $1,000 per month.

Check payments will be mailed to a specified post office box and will be collected and opened daily. The checks will be processed through R.T. Lawrence Corp.’s high-capacity automated equipment. A data file will be generated and sent to the district on a daily basis for posting to Rainbow’s financial software system. All funds will be deposited into Rainbow’s bank account by the close of each business day. A physical image of each payment stub and check will be saved on a secured portal and will be available for Rainbow to access should the district need that information for reference.

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