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LOCKPORT - The Common Council voted Wednesday to begin accepting credit card payments for certain city bills, but it was uncertain when the service will start and what billing will be the first to permit a plastic option.
The Council awarded the contract to M&T Bank, which will charge a fee to those who pay by credit card, through the city's website or at City Hall.
The fee will be $3 for any bill less than $100; $6 for bills between $100 and $200; $9 for bills between $200 and $300; and 3 percent of the total for bills over $300.
City Clerk Richelle J. Pasceri said officials had hoped to begin offering credit card billing with the October refuse user fees. However, the system may not be ready in time, so another possibility is to begin the service with water and sewer bills. Those are charged quarterly, but the bills are staggered so a batch goes out at the beginning of every month, Pasceri said.
She said the city definitely didn't want to kick off the credit card program with the city property tax bills in January without having tried it on smaller bills first.
"You don't want to incur those convenience fees to that great an extent right away," Pasceri said.
In other action, the Council:
. Voted to spend $24,445 as its share of a study by Conestoga-Rovers & Associates on the condition of the city's 13-mile raw water supply line from the Niagara River at North Tonawanda. The city is considering getting out of the water treatment business and instead buying water from North Tonawanda, but first the line has to be checked to see if it's suitable for treated water.
. Held a closed-door session with labor negotiations consultant Samuel F. Iraci Jr., leading up to talks on new contracts with the five city unions, whose pacts expire Dec. 31.
Mayor Michael W. Tucker said the Civil Service Employees Association and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees have sent letters expressing willingness to start bargaining. Tucker said talks may start in the next two weeks.
. Agreed to buy two new cargo vans for the Water Department from Van Bortel Ford, Rochester, for $41,730.
. Renewed a contract to provide a school resource officer for Lockport High School, with the school district paying the city $50,000 toward Patrolman Scott Snaith's salary and benefits.

email: tprohaska@buffnews.com