Did utility payments in Smyrna go missing?

A view of The Smyrna Museum in downtown Smyrna, Ga., from April 25, 2009. (Photo by Todd DeFeo)

SMYRNA, Ga. — At least 50 payments to the city of Smyrna’s Utility Services Department “never materialized” in October, a city official told a customer today.

As a result, those payments were not processed, and many customers apparently did not learn of the problem until they received their next bill.

“Those payments never materialized,” one employee said. The employee indicated there was not a repeat of the problem in November.

However, at least one city utility customer’s payment was missed in November and also possibly in December.

A second employee disputed the allegation, while a third employee indicated it was merely a delay in processing some customers’ payments.

The city does not accept electronic payments from financial institutions. That means banks and credit unions print and send a check to the city when a customer uses an online bill pay system.

The city can take seven days or more to process paper checks.

It is not immediately clear whether the problem lies with the city’s payment processor (SunTrust Bank), the customers’ financial institutions or the U.S. Postal Service.

“It’s almost 2017,” an employee said of the problem. “It shouldn’t be going on.”

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