Officials Argue Over Online Property Tax Payments - The Missourian: County

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Officials Argue Over Online Property Tax Payments

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Posted: Saturday, January 5, 2013 12:00 pm

Franklin County Collector of Revenue Linda Emmons faults Presiding County Commissioner John Griesheimer with the fact that online payment of property taxes is not offered.

But Griesheimer disputes that claim, saying he is working toward getting online payments set up. He said he hopes to have online payments of property taxes set up this year.

Emmons said she was ready to move forward with an online payment system for this tax season, but she said Griesheimer would not sign off on the plan.

“I think it was wrong,” Emmons said.

But Griesheimer said that is an inaccurate assessment, adding that he is disappointed, but not surprised that she is blaming him.

Griesheimer said it is his understanding that the plan she presented him with in November had nothing to do with online payments. He recalls that it only dealt with going to a different company for accepting credit card payments.

Moreover, even if it did deal with online payments it still would not have allowed enough time to get the system up and running this year, he said.

But Emmons said she thinks she could have gotten the online system up and going for some of the tax season had he agreed to it.

Griesheimer said he is looking at adding credit card terminals for different county departments to accept payments and that Emmons was proposing going with a different company than what is being proposed for other offices.

He said he would rather deal with one vendor instead of having multiple companies.

“We all need to be on the same page,” Griesheimer said.

He said he is currently looking at going with a company called EZ Pay. Emmons said she wanted to use Federal Payments.

Emmons said EZ Pay may not have programming in place to handle billing from her office. She said not all credit card payment companies are willing to handle taxes because it requires more programming.

“It is quite entailed to get it all ready and to get reports so we know who paid,” Emmons said.

However, Griesheimer said he has been told by EZ Pay that it can handle the payments.

Going with the EZ Pay should not cost the county anything, Griesheimer said. The company would make its money by charging a service fee to the constituent, he added.

“We want the fees to be reasonable,” he said.

Emmons said she favors online payments because more people are asking for it. She hopes to have it for the next tax season since an increasing number of people are paying bills online.

“I’ve been working on it for about 2 1/2 years,” Emmons said, adding, “It was really disappointing not to have it this time.”

It would be a convenience for people to not have to stand in line to make payments, she noted.

Griesheimer agreed, adding, “Convenience-wise it will really help.”

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