Citizens have new option to pay taxes, fees

Published 6:00 am Monday, November 13, 2006

Lincoln County taxes, service bills and court fees can now bepaid by credit or debit cards.

Chancery Clerk Tillmon Bishop said the new system is now anoption for payment of chancery clerk fees, delinquent taxes,license plates and car tags, land taxes, solid waste bills, JusticeCourt fines and tickets and other courthouse services.

“It’s just an option,” he said. “They can still pay by cash orcheck. This also gives them the option of using a debit card, whichis like an electronic check.”

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City services located at the courthouse are not applicable,Bishop said.

Officials believe offering a credit payment system will alsobenefit the county because they expect to see less bad checks.

“As any business owner will tell you, it also cuts down onchasing checks that don’t clear,” Bishop said.

In addition, the credit payment system will give some leniencyand aid out-of-state property owners in getting their taxes in ontime, he said. Instead of mailing their taxes in several days inadvance of the deadline they can now call up to the last day, oreven minute, its due to make their payment, he said.

“This helps us get the taxes we need to run county government,”Bishop said.

Tax Assessor/Collector Nancy Reeves Jordan and Circuit ClerkTerry Lynn Watkins assisted in providing the new service, Bishopsaid.

Requests for the service from residents spurred the departmentheads into investigating if it was possible, Bishop said. Only afew counties in the state have enacted similar programs.

“Since a government entity cannot have a credit system or payfees, the hurdle was to find a bank willing to waive thetransaction fee,” he said. “Bank of Brookhaven was willing to dothat.”

The bank’s cooperation not only allowed the county to moveforward with the payment system, but also means it costs the countynothing to maintain.

Officials are already planning to expand payment options nextyear, Bishop said.

“What we would like to do next year is take it to a differentlevel and allow Lincoln County citizens, or anyone who needs tomake a payment, to pay it online,” he said.

Aside from providing those out of state with payment options, anonline service would also be very convenient to residents herebecause it could save them a trip to the courthouse, Bishopsaid.