Phasing out office good idea for city

Published 5:00 am Tuesday, June 22, 2004

A proposal to phase out the city tax collector’s officerepresents a good move by the city.

Tax Collector Pat Duckworth has served the city well during herfour terms in office. However, she is not planning to seekre-election next year, and the office’s long-time deputy taxcollector is also planning retirement.

Phasing out the city tax office and having the county officehandle property tax collection duties would eliminate theduplication of a service at the government complex. The move wouldalso save some customers an extra step across the building to paytheir city taxes.

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Furthermore, Brookhaven is one of the last cities in the stateto have a separate office for tax collector.

Under state law, the City Clerk’s Office already handlescollection of delinquent property taxes, further reducing the needfor a separate city tax office. Those duties ultimately would beassumed by the county tax office.

In addition to tax duties, the city tax office is responsiblefor issuing privilege license. That service would be assumed by theCity Clerk’s Office under the proposed plan.

Any monetary savings from closing the city tax office woulddepend on how much the county would charge for handing the taxduties. City and county officials are working well together, socosts should not be a stumbling block in the plan.

Some city officials have lamented a lack of space at governmentcomplex. Eliminating the city tax office would free up that spacefor use by some other city agency.

Paying property taxes is hardly fun for anyone. However, theplan to phase out the city office should make it a less “taxing”experience for property owners.