By Ed Martin, The Leader Editor
Always wanted to pay your water bill online? You just may get the chance now

In today’s world, we play for just about everything online. We can order our food online, buy a car, read the news (preferably The Leader), pay for our credit cards, and of course buy a book. For years now just about everything we desire can be paid for or purchased online – that is except the City of Lemoore water bill.

Fortunately for the hard-working "cyber-savy" taxpayers of Lemoore that may soon be changing.

Among the usual mix of items at Tuesday’s council meeting that our elected leaders will review or deal with – warrant registers, closed session items, financial reports, and miscellaneous mutterings of council gadflys – the “net-friendly” leadership that calls itself the Lemoore City Council is poised to finally bring our city online, setting aside once and for all the Ebenezer Scrooge bookkeeping ledgers that have kept Lemoore behind the curve for so many years.

Our talented and forward-thinking council – most of them – will be asked to implement online billing services, which will allow, with a deft key stroke or two, Lemoore’s citizens the ability to pay their utility bills via an online city presence.

John Herrera, the city’s interim finance director “consultant” is recommending the update. Herrera was hired as an interim until the city hires a full-time director, and he seems to be making a name for himself in city circles.

In addition to recommending that Lemoore step into cyberspace, he has delivered into the council’s eager hands the city’s “first-ever” Comprehensive Annual Finance Report (CAFR), a much more comprehensive document than the “paltry” basic financial statements councilmembers usually receive.

Apparently no other city in Kings County does this. We’re the first, so it makes one wonder why it took so long to get online bill paying.

See Lemoore City Council Agenda

I highly recommend reading the 118-page report, that is if technical jargon, numerous graphs, and pouring over endless financials statistics gives you goosebumps. It’s certainly a tear jerker, but surprisingly it does come with an autographed photo of Mayor Lois Wynne.

 What were we talking about?

Herrera is recommending the city hire Paymentus Corporation – which sounds like a firm right out of a Terminator movie – to set up an online billing service, allowing Lemoore’s World-Wide-Web deprived residents to avoid having to find an ink pen, write a check, lick a stamp and then mailing the bill.

Included in the overall costs is an expenditure of $9,000 for the cost of three service kiosks and the absorption of credit card fees for customers who choose to pay their bills online or at the kiosk – where incidentally, you can also order a Starbucks triple espresso.

The city thinks it can in the long run save the city some money by reducing staff time and improving the customer’s service level.

I’m all for providing improved services to Lemoore’s citizens. Now, how about Lazy Boy recliners for the faithful who flock to council meetings every other Tuesday? A smoothie machine would be nice too.