For Hometown News
PORT ST. LUCIE -- The city of Port St. Lucie wants residents to know that the safest and most reliable way to pay water and sewer bills is to mail or bring them directly to City Hall, or to pay online using only the city's website.
There are stores, financial transaction firms and third-party websites that collect payments for city utility bills, and then forward the money to the city.
However, when those payments are delayed, residents are surprised to learn that the city has no record of the payment. This can lead to late fees being charged and water being shut off for nonpayment.
The city does not endorse or have an agreement with any of these private companies to collect on behalf of the city. Utilities customers who use these services have no guarantee from the city that their account is current.
Though the city is not aware of any criminal activity related to payments through third-party firms or websites, the potential for fraud increases any time unauthorized people handle money intended for the city. The city can provide no assurance that payments made through third parties will arrive at the city in a timely manner, or if they money will be paid to the city at all.
Utilities customers are asked to use caution and to mail payments directly to the city, drop them off at City Hall, or pay only through the city's official website, www.cityofpsl.com.