Carolina Beach To Reinstate Full Time Billing Window Operations

Photo from File: The Town of Carolina Beach recently announced they will return to full time hours for the billing department at Town Hall. Earlier this year the Town announced the hours would be reduced and closed on Wednesdays due to staffing shortages. Photo from File: The Town of Carolina Beach recently announced they will return to full time hours for the billing department at Town Hall. Earlier this year the Town announced the hours would be reduced and closed on Wednesdays due to staffing shortages.

Carolina Beach To Reinstate Full Time Billing Window Operations Featured

By / Local News / Wednesday, 19 June 2019 23:56

By WILLARD KILLOUGH III
Managing Editor

CAROLINA BEACH - The Town of Carolina Beach announced in May they would limit hours of operation for the Town's billing department window at Town Hall due to a staffing shortage.

On June 17th the Town announced they would be filling a previously vacant   position and returning to opening the billing window five days a week full time.

That position  was previously vacant and was advertised for applications earlier this year, but based on the direction of former Town Manager Lucky Narain the position was not filled and hours of operation were reduced.

On May 15th, the Town posted on its Facebook Page, "Due to staffing shortages, the Town billing window will have limited hours. Effective immediately the new hours are 12:00 pm to 5:00 pm Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday. The billing window will be closed to customers on Wednesday."

Customers were directed to pay their bills online.

Mayor Joe Benson said the change was not the result of "staffing shortages" and explained, "I think the choice of wording will be modified. We’re encouraging additional automation."

Council member Leann Pierce explained, "No not in my opinion. Too many.  We have asked for more automation and less man power.  It was a poor choice of words."

During recent budget workshops regarding the upcoming 2019-2020 fiscal year the Council has discussed the cost of personnel when considering ways to cut costs, return more money to the Town's reserve fund, and help reduce future property tax increases.

"Staffing shortages"

The Town had advertised for a vacant position in the billing department in recent months after an employee  resigned. Applications were received, but prior to hiring someone to fill the vacant position, a decision was made not to fill the position and the Council asked Town Manager Lucky Narain to explore options such as automation including cutting hours at the billing window and instead directing people to use the Town's website to make payments for utility bills, purchase parking permits and making other related inquiries.

Following inquiries to the Town Manager by a Council member, Narain sent an email to Town staff asking them to edit the Facebook post to not reference a "staffing shortage."

The Billing and Cashier office in Carolina Beach has hired a new customer service representative, Ms. Amanda Gauthier.

According to a release issued by the Town on June 17th, "She will begin training immediately on the Town’s processes, procedures, and software platforms.  This training will be an ongoing process, and we expect to return to normal business hours soon."
Below is a schedule of the current and upcoming restricted operating schedule:

• Current hours:  Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays, 12:00 noon – 5:00 p.m.     Wednesdays-CLOSED
• NEW HOURS effective Monday, July 1st:  Monday – Friday, 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

The Town expects to return to regular hours, Mon-Fri, 8AM-5PM, no later than August 1st. If you have any questions regarding the hours of operation please call (910) 458-2999.

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