Utility Billing FAQ's

 Common Questions About Your Utility Bill:

How is my utility bill calculated?

Each utility fee has its own calculation.

Sewer:  Single-family customers pay a flat rate and no additional charge based on water use. All other customers pay the same base charge as single-family customers, but also pay a consumption charge based on water use. Multi-family residential and certain other customers have their consumption charge based on a “winter average”; non-residential customers’ consumption is based solely on water use.

Storm Drain:  All customers pay a flat fee that reflects a property’s impact on the City’s storm drainage system. The impact is based on “impervious area”, which means surface areas that either prevent or retard the absorption of water into the surface of the soil. Examples include buildings, driveways, parking lots and gravel surfaces used for vehicular traffic. The average impervious area for single-family customers in Medford was measured using Geographic Information System (GIS) software and all single family customers pay the same amount. The actual impervious area for all other customers is measured.

Street:  All customers pay a flat fee that reflects the amount of traffic generated for the property’s purpose. The City uses the Institute of Traffic Engineers (ITE) Traffic Generation manual to determine the amount of traffic generated for each residence and business.

Parks and Public Safety:  All customers pay a flat fee based on the number of dwelling units or commercial suites.

Why is my payment being mailed to Portland?

The Medford Post Office did not have any large post office boxes available. Additionally, the City has contracted with Retail Lockbox, Inc. to process all mailed payments. This is a lower cost option than processing them ourselves. Retail Lockbox, Inc.’s banking partner is located here in Medford, but the actual payments will be processed outside of Medford.

Where do my utility bill dollars go?

Utility fees pay for maintenance of sewer and storm drain lines, parks and police and fire services. Specifically:

Sanitary Sewer - The sewer fee pays for the treatment of sewage as well as the maintenance and upgrades to the sewer collection system.

Storm Drain - The storm drain fee pays for maintenance and upgrades to the storm drainage collection system. The goal of this program is to minimize flooding and protect streams in Medford.

Public Safety - The public safety fee pays for five police officers and five firefighters as well as debt services for the Medford Police Building, parking garage, and three new fire stations.

Street Maintenance - The street fee pays for operations and maintenance of City streets. This includes such things as pavement preservation, signing and striping, and electricity for street lights.

Parks - The parks fee pays for beautification in the public right-of-way and parks. The fee also pays for debt services for the US Cellular Community Park.

I don't use all of these services, why do I have to pay for them?

City utility fees pay for infrastructure and services for use by everyone in the city. All residents and businesses within the city use streets, sewer, and storm drain facilities; funding to operate and maintain this infrastructure is provided through the Street, Sewer and Storm Drain utility fees. Likewise, everyone benefits from police and fire protection. While hopefully, you’ve never had an emergency at your location, prevention programs benefit everyone through low crime rates and reduced risk of fire. The Parks utility fee provides funds to maintain beautification areas in the City including park strips throughout Medford, the grassy area along Biddle Road, and North Medford Interchange, to name just a few. 

Can I appeal any of the utility fees?

We encourage you to call our office at 541-774-2140 if you have any questions or concerns about the City of Medford’s utility bill. Customers wanting a review of the classification used to determine the street utility fee may fill out the Street Fee Classification Inquiry form, available by clicking here.

General Questions:

What is "Winter Quarter Average"?

The City recognizes that a large portion of water usage in summer months for residential customers is used to water landscaping and does not go into the sewer. To obtain a more accurate reflection of water use that goes into the sewer, the City averages water used in the winter. Water used in December, January and February is averaged over the three months and used as the basis for the sewer fee for the entire year.

Why did the city separate its utility billing from Medford Water Commission?

When the Medford Water Commission first started billing on behalf of the City, sewer was the only City utility fee, which was directly related to water usage. Today there are up to eight fees, most of which have no relation to water usage. The calculations for some of the fees are quite complex and separate billing allows the City to have both accountability and responsibility for the accuracy of the utility bill. The City Council approved this change on December 6, 2012.

What is a utility fee?

Most people are familiar with the concept of a utility fee. In most cities, residents are used to paying for water and electricity, telephone, garbage service, cable TV, etc. These are all “utilities”. In addition to water, most Medford residents pay for three City-owned utilities which are operated by the Public Works Department - sanitary sewers, storm drains and streets. Residents living south of Cherry Lane and East of N. Phoenix Road also pay a special utility fee for pedestrian lighting.

Why do we have these utility fees?

The revenue collected from Utility Fees helps pay for operating the respective systems. For example, the revenue collected from the sanitary sewer fee is used to maintain the City’s 230 plus miles of sewer pipe and its seven pump stations. It is also used to help pay for the operation of the regional wastewater reclamation plant located on the Rogue River near TouVelle Park.

Revenue collected from the storm drain utility fee is used to maintain the City’s 110 plus miles of storm drain pipe, 55 miles of roadside ditches and 25 miles of creeks and drainage channels. Some of the money is also used to construct new drainage facilities.

Revenue collected from the street utility fee is used to maintain the City’s 200 plus miles of streets and 22 miles of alleys. However, new streets cannot be constructed with these funds. Revenue collected from the pedestrian street light fee is used to maintain the pedestrian lights in those areas.