We said goodbye last month to one of our longtime staff members.
Toni Woods, Utility Billing Clerk, retired Feb. 28 from the City of Spring Hill. Toni worked for the City for 17 years.
Beginning her career in November 2002, Toni started in utility billing and then transferred to Public Works to be an administrative assistant. For 10 years, she worked with staff, contractors, residents and others to improve our city. In 2014, she transferred back to Utility Billing and overhauled the position.
“My favorite part of the job has been interacting with the residents, the older residents and the ones who bring their dogs.”
Recalling one of her most touching memories, it was helping someone in need.
“There was a senior that was in shut off status,” Toni said. “We shut off her bill and she came to City Hall and she was at the front counter in the old Civic Center. …She was going ‘I don’t know how. Why did this get shut off? I don’t have the money.’ She had been in the hospital and she just broke down in front of me. I said now hang on we can work through this. I waived the reconnect fee and we sat down and just talked. …I’ve always felt like with seniors that I felt like I was talking to my mom or my dad.”
Later, Toni was able to get that same resident in touch with assistance to help her out of a tough time.
Over the years, Toni assisted in changes to the Utility Billing position to better serve Spring Hill residents. Some of those changes included allowing residents to go 60 days past due before service is shut off and implementing the payment arrangement process. She also implemented new software to streamline the internal functions of the job.
One thing she will miss is her coworkers.
“All the people that I’ve worked with over the years have been great and fun,” she said. “You all make me laugh. It’s fun to come to work because you’ve got great people you work with. …I get to play mother to everyone because everyone is so much younger. I get to say to Melanie [Landis], ‘Where’s your coat?’” she said laughing. “It’s a comfortable environment. It’s family oriented. Your family comes first here. That’s a big thing. They never put you in the place where your job comes first. It’s always family first.”
In retirement, Toni is looking forward to hanging out with her husband Larry, taking mini trips, spending time with her grandson, volunteering, landscaping and investing in herself.
“This is like you’re a little kid and you get to ride your bike any time you want. You get to go to bed any time you want or wake up any time you want. …You go back to being a carefree kid again. You don’t even have to ask your mom or dad to go do something. …Some people go back to work because they’re bored. I’m not doing that.
“It’s been a great ride with great benefits and great people. It’s a great place to work and I’ve enjoyed it.”