The Ferdinand Town Council is debating whether to create a fundraising program through its utility billing.

On Tuesday night Town Manager Marc Steczyk told the council about an idea to round up utility customers’ bills to the nearest dollar and put the extra cents from each bill into a special fund. The money in the fund could be used for purchasing things like new flags and Christmas decorations to avoid using tax funding. The change also could limit the amount of outside fundraising for such purchases.

Dubois Rural Electric Cooperative’s Operation Round Up program is similar to the idea considered by town officials. That program began last year and has generated grant funding of more than $83,500 that has been awarded in six grant cycles.

The council debated the merits of letting customers sign up for the program on their own or rolling out an all-inclusive program where every customer is automatically signed up but has the option of opting out. The maximum that one customer would donate a year is $12.

Clerk-Treasurer Bev Schulthise said the Indiana State Board of Accounts indicated an opt-in program would be allowable, but she did not ask if an opt-out program would be allowed and will check with the board again.