Standing in front of a desktop kiosk, mayor Andre Sayegh announced property owners can now pay their tax bills over the internet.
“Instead of being on line, you can go online and pay your bills,” said Sayegh in a news conference in front of the tax office on Thursday morning. “We just sent out property tax bills. If you want to avoid lines pay online.”
Sayegh said property owners have two options, pay by visiting the city’s website and clicking on “Pay Bill” from the second ribbon on the homepage or by using the kiosk on the first floor of City Hall.
Right now, the city is accepting online payments for property taxes, said finance director Marge Cherone. She said the city expects to accepts sewer payments in the next couple weeks. Paying online has a price depending on the method of payment.
A 2.95-percent fee will be applied to all credit card transactions. A $3.95 fee is tacked onto all Visa debit card transactions. And a $1.05 fee will be charged for eCheck payments.
Municipal officials have talked about allowing property owners to pay bills online for more than six years. In 2013, former finance director Anthony Zambrano, said online payments would be available in 2015.
“It has taken some time, but the time has come for us to make sure people can pay online and here,” said Sayegh.
Cherone said the city purchased the software for the tax office to accept online payments from Edmunds & Associates two years ago for $121,000. It’s from the same firm that provides software for finance, purchasing, payroll, and human resources. In all, the city pays $330,000 to the firm for software, she said.
“People have been asking for this for many many years,” said deputy tax collector Jennean Jordan-Gadsden. She said the system will reduce delinquent payments that’s common with out-of-state property owners.
Sayegh said the online system will improve the city’s tax collection rate.