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SHARPSVILLE Council decries bank's fee plan



Published: Thu, January 10, 2002 @ 12:00 a.m.



People should begin dropping off their bills at the municipal building, officials said.

By HAROLD GWIN

VINDICATOR SHARON BUREAU

SHARPSVILLE, Pa. -- Borough council members aren't happy with First National Bank of Pennsylvania's plan to charge Sharpsville 30 cents for each borough utility bill residents pay at the bank's offices.

Council read a letter from First National during an open meeting Wednesday that said the fee will be implemented beginning Feb. 1 to cover the cost of processing the bills.

The bank charges no fee now, said Michael Wilson, borough manager.

First National did offer an alternative, suggesting the borough might use its electronic lockbox option.

Wilson said that would require residents to mail their bills to a specific post office box and the bank would then handle the transactions through electronic transfers. That process, however, would probably cost more than 30 cents a bill, he said.

Wilson said National City Bank also processes the same utility bills for its customers but charges no fee to the borough.

First National handles 320 bills a month, processing water, sewer, garbage and recycling bills for people who choose to pay at the bank.

To send letter: Council voted to send First National a letter protesting the fee plan and, if the bank doesn't change its mind, the borough will advise residents not to pay their bills at that bank but to drop them off at the municipal building.

There is a drop box built into the front entry of the building so bills can be dropped off at any hour.

Councilman Thomas Lally said First National is just making it more difficult on its own customers by assessing a fee. The bank isn't being community-minded, he said.

The borough may have to tell its residents they are no longer wanted at First National, said Councilman Alex Kovach.

Councilman Gary Grandy, who proposed sending the letter to the bank, also suggested that Sharpsville pull all of its money out of First National if the bank doesn't change its position.

The borough has one of its main checking accounts at First National as well as various other accounts, Wilson said.

Shuttle security: In other business, council approved an agreement to provide police services to the Shenango Valley Shuttle Service, which offers public transportation among five Shenango Valley municipalities.

The shuttle service is offering the borough a pool of $10,000 for the protection, to be paid at the rate of $30 an hour.

Wilson said police officers would occasionally follow shuttle service buses on their routes through the borough.

Shuttle service officials had said previously they were making similar offers to Sharon, Hermitage and the Southwest Mercer County Regional Police Department, which covers Farrell and Wheatland.

It's a safety issue prompted by problems bus operators have had with students riding public transportation to Sharon High School, the officials said.




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