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Snoqualmie ponders 'convenience fee' for city payments

Snoqualmie residents who use their credit cards to pay bills to the city of Snoqualmie may get hit with a $2.50 fee for the convenience.

The city council discussed the possible fee and other options for saving revenue on credit card transactions at its Jan. 10 meeting.

Like most businesses, the city pays a merchant fee every time a resident pays with a credit card. Fees for Snoqualmie now total about $18,000 a year.

"We have an obligation to mitigate those as much as possible," said Robert Orton, Snoqualmie Finance Director.

"People want a simpler way of paying a bill," Orton said. "Society is moving toward paperless transactions. It's a natural thing for the city to do to meet people's expectations."

More payment options were requested in the most recent city survey.

"We're always going to have people using credit cards for the rewards and incentives attached to them," he said.

The amount of the convenience fee could change, as Snoqualmie explores options for a third-party credit card clearing house. Such agencies reduce the fees by as much as two-thirds compared with banks.

Credit card options are now allowed for the combined water, garbage and sewer bill. Eventually, cards may be allowed to pay for permits.

A public hearing on the new fee is 7 p.m. Monday, Jan. 24, at City Hall.

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