Available for those who qualify.
Utility Billing Transitioned Back to “Normal” Billing Processes and Procedures
With the end of the pandemic and the City of Fircrest transitioning back to “normal” billing policies and procedures per FMC 17.04 with the February 2022 billing period. The City of Fircrest residents, that do not have a payment arrangement agreement signed and on file, can expect that on:
- 3/11/2022 Past due statements will be mailed and will include late fees. Late fees are equal to 10% of the total of any past due water, sewer, and/or storm drain charges.
- 3/18/2022 Door Notices will be delivered and will include a $9.00 Field Collection Fee
- 3/22/2022 Water meter will be locked off and a $25.00 Disconnection/Reconnection fee will be added.
The city of Fircrest is committed to keeping our customers connected to essential services. If you are experiencing financial hardship as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, and need extra time to pay your account, you may be eligible for support, including long-term payment arrangements or bill assistance. Our policies, consistent with state law, do not relieve customers from the obligation to pay for utility services.
If you need to Request for Extended Payment Arrangements, please complete the City’s Application for Pandemic Deferred Payment Plan, and email to firstname.lastname@example.org or contact the City of Fircrest Public Works Administrative Specialist, Vicky Walston, for additional information at (253) 238-4126.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is the City resuming utility shutoffs?
Governor Inslee’s proclamation prohibiting utility late fees and service interruptions expired on September 30, 2021. We understand that the last 2 years have been difficult and wanted to help as much as we could before we resumed late fees and shutoffs.
Upon expiration of the Governor’s order, the City established a grace/deferral period before beginning to impose late fees and scheduling shutoffs. Our hope is that this period allowed qualifying customer to apply for financial assistance and/or request and setup deferred payment arrangements, or, for those customers who do not qualify, the time to catch up on past due balances.
I can’t pay my entire bill right now, should I still call?
Absolutely! We may be able to assist in helping arrange a payment schedule but can only help if you call BEFORE utilities are disconnected.
How can I get help?
If qualified, the city has available a Covid relief deferred payment plan, but we can’t waive your charges. However, if approved, a deferred payment plan agreement will prevent shut off and late fees from occurring as long as the plan is in good standing.
You can also call 211 in Pierce County for guidance to other assistance programs.
How Can I make payments on my account?
There are multiple options for you to make a payment on your account:
- You can make one-time payments or setup automatic payments online at XpressBillPay.com,
- You can come into City Hall Monday-Friday 8:00 am – 5:00 pm and make a payment using cash, check, money order, or credit/debit card (we are unable to except American Express)
- You can put check or money order in one of our City Hall drop boxes 24/7 located outside each entrance door heading into City Hall.
Payments on a scheduled payment arrangement should be made online through xpressbillpay.com, placed in one of our drop boxes or inside City Hall. If you must mail it in, please be sure it arrives on time and if it may be late email Vicky Walston, Public Works Utility Billing at VWalston@CityofFircrest.net to notify.
How long do I have to pay?
We encourage customers to bring their accounts current as soon as possible but can extend arrangements for past due amounts up to twelve months for those that have been financially affected by the COVID Pandemic and who are pre-approved.
Past due statements, late fees included, will be mailed on 3/11/2022 for any account, not on a Deferred Payment Plan, for any balance owing after 8:00 am on 3/11/2022.
What about my current bills?
We can offer payment arrangements for past due balances. Bills going forward will need to remain current to keep the account in good standing and protected from disconnections.
I’m a tenant, can I get a deferred payment arrangement?
Possibly! Please contact us to help. We will need approval from the property owner/PMC to establish a deferred payment arrangement.
Why can’t the City just waive past due balances?
Legally, a utility is a fee for services used and once you use them, we have to charge you fairly. We’re not a corporation. There are no shareholders, and we’ve worked hard to reduce overhead so that our rates are as low as possible. If we were to “forgive” accounts (which again, is illegal to do), the payment has to come from the other ratepayers, putting a further burden on the rest of our customers.
What if I miss a payment on my arrangement?
Please contact us ASAP. We must hear from you before we disconnect for a missed payment to be able to help, but, it’s important to stay on your payment arrangement to avoid potential late fees and/or disconnection and or removal from the Deferred Plan.
What about my gas/electric bill?
Gas service in Fircrest is proved by Puget Sound Energy and electric service in Fircrest is provided by Tacoma Public Utilities, separate organizations. However, they may offer their own options for bill assistance. Please contact each provider to learn more about the options available.
Consumer Payment Scams
We may see a rise in scammers and con artists attempting to target utility consumers by posing as utility representatives and demanding immediate payment of an “overdue” bill to avoid disconnection of their service. We never ask or require customers who have delinquent accounts to purchase a prepaid debit card to avoid disconnection. Customers with outstanding balances receive a past due notification by mail and a door notice prior to having disruption in service. If you receive such a phone call/text, please ignore it. And, if you’re worried about the status of your account, give us a call at (253) 564-8900.