The city will send out monthly bills for utilities, but TVWD will continue to bill bi-monthly.

This story has been updated.

FILE PHOTO - The city of Hillsboro will begin sending out monthly utility bills to ratepayers, instead of every other month, as it has done for years.The city of Hillsboro is changing the way residents pay their utilities.

Starting this week, the city will begin switching ratepayers to monthly billing. For years, residents have paid their utility bills every other month.

"It has been a request from customers to have monthly bills," said Hillsboro's Assistance Finance Director Michelle Wareing. "Paying a smaller bill once a month is easier than a larger bill every other month, and it alerts us to leaks in the meters quicker than how we do now. This was customer driven, but it's also the best business practice."

It's a time-consuming project, Wareing said. The city provides utilities to more than 26,000 homes, apartment complexes and businesses across the city.

Utility bills include fees for water and sewer as well as a transportation utility fee and changes for surface water management.

The city will send residents a notification four months before they switch to monthly billing, Wareing said.

"We want people to prepare for it," she said. "They get two billing cycles before they are moved. That way they have quite a few months to prepare."

About 4,000 people will switch to monthly billing this month, Wareing said. Those customers were informed about the change over the summer. A second group of about 1,500 accounts will switch to monthly billing in early 2018.

"It's a very detailed process," Wareing said. "We have to go through the process and make sure the bills are accurate before we start sending them out.

The city provides water to a large portion of Hillsboro, but city residents east of Cornelius Pass Road and north of Highway 26 receive their water from Tualatin Valley Water District, which sends out bills every other month. The city also provides utilities to more than 500 customers in Cherry Grove.

According to the city, it will take about 18 months for all of the city's ratepayers to be switched to monthly. The process is expected to be complete before 2020.

Editor's Note: This story has been updated to include quotes from Michelle Wareing, the city's assistant finance director, and to clarify the number of customers the city serves in the community of Cherry Grove.

By Geoff Pursinger
Associate Editor, Hillsboro Tribune
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