The Academy for New York State's Local Officials

Cash Management

A Tutorial for Local Governments and School Districts

Examine Your Billing Cycle

There are many options available to local governments for examining the billing cycles for user charges. Here are just a few ideas for water charges:

  • Analyze the current billing cycles, including the time span between meter readings and bill mailing.
  • Determine if the time period between the reading and billing is reasonable. If the time period between readings and billings is not reasonable, determine what could be done to shorten this time period. For example, let's say water meters are read quarterly and the bills are sent out after all the meters are read. This process takes six to eight weeks to complete. If you divided the water service area into three zones and read one zone at a time, the billings could be sent out sooner. Zone one bills could be sent out first, and you would then have quicker access to those funds.
  • Review the current office staffing level and duties, and determine if water customers could be billed more frequently. For example, if the customers are billed semiannually, it may be more beneficial for a local government to bill them quarterly. Remember to review the payroll costs and bill processing costs to determine if it is cost-effective to bill customers quarterly.
  • Don't forget to review the timing of deposits for this department. Again, it is important to make sure that the money is being deposited as quickly as possible.