W. Brian Hiatt has served as Concord's City Manager since 1998. He came to Concord from Hickory where he served as Assistant City Manager for over 10 years. Brian holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in History and Government Service from Appalachian State University where he was a summa cum laude graduate, and a Master of Public Administration from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He has been recognized as a Credentialed City Manager by ICMA.
Active in the community, Brian is a Past President of the Academic Learning Center and continues to serve on that Board. He is on the Board of Directors for the Cabarrus Economic Development Corporation and the Water and Sewer Authority of Cabarrus County. Brian has served as the Chair of the Cabarrus County United Way Board three times since 1999, most recently in 2015, and was Chair of the United Way Campaign in Cabarrus County in 2002. He is a Past-President of the Concord Rotary Club, where he was named Rotarian of the Year in 2012, and the Lake Hickory Rotary Club. He is also a former board member of Hospice of Cabarrus County. He is a Past President of the North Carolina City and County Management Association, having served as President in 2012-13, and has served on several committees supporting the International City and County Management Association. Brian was a member of the Board of Directors of the NC League of Municipalities from 2004 through 2008. Brian is married to Julie, and they have two grown children, Andrew and Erin.
by Brian Hiatt
What is the best way to pay for my utilities?
Many of you reading this may remember when your option to pay utility (or other) bills was to either mail in a check or "head into town" to drop off a payment. I recall driving to town with my mother, visiting the bank, then walking around downtown to various locations to pay the bills. While these "vintage" options are still available for City of Concord utility customers, there are now a variety of convenient methods you can choose to make your monthly payment.
We welcome you to visit our convenient payment counter in the City Hall lobby, now located at 35 Cabarrus Avenue W directly across from the Cabarrus parking deck. You can receive in-person assistance weekdays from 8:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. City Hall also has a drive-up drop box on the side of the building along Market Street that accepts check payments 24/7. Payments are retrieved each weekday at 8:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m.
Customers have the option to pay utility bills using a credit card in person, or with a credit card or e-check over the phone at 704-920-5555 and online through our eCare customer portal. This service is provided by a third party company, which charges the customer a $3.49 convenience fee. The City of Concord does not collect or receive any part of the convenience fee for credit card and e-check payments. This fee is passed on to customers because if the City absorbs it, the costs would be reflected in higher utility bills.
Speaking of our eCare portal, I would highly encourage you to consider signing up if you have not already. When you sign up for eCare, you have access to usage and payment information, as well as the option to sign up for e-billing. Customers who enroll in e-billing receive an email notification when their bill is ready to view on eCare, rather than a paper bill in the mail. All payment options (in person, mail, over the phone, online) are available when receiving e-bills.
For customers who wish to ensure a consistent utility bill throughout the year, budget billing may be an option. To be eligible, you must have twelve months of established service at the same residence, and no more than two late fees in a twelve-month period. The budget billing period starts with the August bill each year, and those interested must submit an application by June 30. Customers who apply will receive a letter stating if they qualify, and if so what the calculated monthly payment will be. The following July, the City calculates if there are any overages to be paid or credits to apply to the next year's budget. You can stop the program at any time.
The final payment option, and one of the best, is to sign up for automatic draft. This method ensures your payment is submitted on time each month. There is an option to automatically draft your credit card (subject to the $3.49 convenience fee) or your checking account (no fee).
I use the checking account draft because I find it the easiest and I know it is the way that ultimately saves rate payers' dollars. In other words, all of our other payment options require a higher level of processing by the City or require the customer to pay a convenience fee. The automatic checking account draft directly pays your monthly balance without you having to do anything and with fewer resources required by the City.