By Robbie Ward
TUPELO – Days of cars lining Court and Green streets waiting to enter Tupelo Water & Light’s drive-through line have ended.
Tupelo Water & Light’s drive-through lane at the billing and collections office will double in size Tuesday, with two open lanes.
The city utility’s collections and billing office will relocate across the street to a location formerly used for a M&F Bank. The location at the south corner of Court and Green streets has many perks, nearly all related to having more space.
“It’s always been a goal to get into a more spacious location,” said Johnny Timmons, TW&L director. “When this building came along, it was the perfect for us.”
The new location at Green and Court streets more than triples space compared to the former location, where customers have paid bills and requested new power and water service for 45 years.
After M&F Bank merged with Renasant Bank and closed that location in December, the company sold the property to the city for $1.2 million and office furnishings inside for $15,000 more.
Along with space for customers, secure locations upstairs for records and faster drive-through service, TW&L will add another teller position for the new location, bringing total staff to 15, including three part-time employees.
Timmons, billings and collection personnel and other city utility employees spent Friday afternoon moving computers, boxes, files and other materials across Court street.
When the new location opens Tuesday at 8 a.m., customers will see an open lobby, a far cry from the waiting area across the street so cramped staff kept carousels of records in the waiting area. Staff previously sharing an office with one or two others will have an open area to work or have their own offices.
The former location officially closed Friday at noon, but staff will continue to check the night drop box into next week.
As for the former TW&L billing location, Timmons said it would be perfect downtown space for an attorney, architect or other professional.
“As soon as we can get it cleaned up, we’ll put it on the market,” he said.