Nevada City, California – The 2020-2021 Nevada County Grand Jury (Jury) today released its Investigation Report into Surcharges Levied on Credit Card Payments and Other Consumer Payments in the Nevada Irrigation District (NID ), as well as on the allocation of other taxes collected by NID. The jury finds that NID’s $ 3.75 per payment fee is inconsistent with the billing practices of many other utilities and retailers and recommends that NID’s board of directors publicly review its contract with supplier Paymentus; expand the use of âfreeâ paperless billing by customers; and put in place a comprehensive consumer complaints system.
Following a citizen complaint, the jury investigated the consumption costs associated with the payment of water bills treated by NID. The survey focused on paying bills electronically and included research on California consumer protection laws, academics’ opinions, and industry billing practices. The jury also reviewed the practices of other California water districts as well as the surcharges (if any) associated with credit card payments for other consumption bills.
The jury concludes that NID’s $ 3.75 surcharge for using credit and debit cards is unusual for a water district. In comparison, none of the irrigation districts of Modesto, Napa, Placer or Turlock charge such a royalty. Yuba City charges $ 1.60 per transaction and Sutter offers a sliding scale that starts at $ 1. AT&T, Verizon, Comcast, and Waste Management do not charge fees for using the credit card. PG&E charges $ 1.
In addition, the jury considered the monthly collection of $ 1.90 per customer per NID to offset state / county fees for state of California mandatory reporting compliance. The jury calculates that in 2019, the NID may have raised over $ 450,000 in additional fees to cover approximately $ 399,000 in out-of-pocket expenses.
The full report is available as a pdf file here.