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In the nearly two decades since CNS Cable was launched, one of the hallmarks of the service was the convenience of subscribers having their charges for cable, internet and/or phone being included in their monthly utility bill.
Effective with the first billing cycle on Feb. 15, that will no longer be the case, according to Cairo city manager Chris Addleton.
The city manager briefed the mayor and council Monday night on the upcoming change. City utility customers who subscribe to CNS Next services will begin receiving two bills each month, one for their electric, gas, water/sewer and garbage service and a separate bill for CNS Next fees.
The change is unavoidable as the city goes online with its new financial software for utilities billing. The city previously went live with its new financial software for payroll and accounts payable last November.
Since July 2010, the city has used the City of Thomasville’s GEMS Financial and UBILL billing system. Thomasville gave Cairo officials notice just over a year ago that they were “migrating to a new financial and billing system and that UBILL would only be supported through 2021.”
“So, we had no other choice but to conduct a comprehensive search for a finance and billing software solution,” Addleton said.
The city eventually decided on Tyler Technologies software, which the cities of Moultrie and Camilla are also now using.
“At the present time, there is no interface for Tyler to ‘talk’ with the CNSNext system for billing,” the Cairo city manager said.
Until the South Georgia Governmental Services Authority, owner of CNSNext, replaces UBILL with a system that would include Tyler and an interface developed, the two bill system will remain in effect, Addleton explained.
Councilman Demario Byrden asked if the change would impact due dates, late fees and reconnect fees.
Addleton said nothing is changing other than the bills will now be separated. The city manager said that one bill will be marked City of Cairo and the second one would be marked CNSNext. Ideally, the bills would arrive on the same day as each other, according to the city manager.
“Everyone needs to look out for two bills and not think one of them is an advertisement,” Councilman Jerry Cox commented.
In other business, the council:
Authorized the execution of a quit claim deed between the city and the Grady County Hospital Authority that relinquishes the city’s ownership to 11th Avenue S.E. from the intersection of Fifth Street S.E. and Sixth Street S.E. City manager Addleton recommended approval since Archbold and the Hospital are moving toward the beginning construction of a new nursing home to be constructed adjacent to Grady General Hospital.
Accepted the low bid of $151,000 from Angry Lawn Care of Thomasville for the landscape maintenance of Cairo Cemetery, Greenwood Cemetery and Crestview Cemetery. According to the city manager, Angry Lawn Care maintains the landscape of Thomasville cemeteries. The current vendor, Best of the Best was the high bidder at $294,000. The city received a total of seven bids for the work. The contract is for one year and with satisfactory performance it can be renewed for up to three years, and the pricing remains fixed for up to three years. The second lowest bidder was a local firm, Hubbard Monument Company, with a bid of $156,200, but Addleton noted the company had no experience in landscape maintenance of cemeteries.
Councilman James H. (Jimmy) Douglas agreed that experience was important. “I get more complaints from the cemetery than any other place,” Douglas said.