Gates implements self-service system

Published 9:26 am Thursday, December 3, 2009

GATESVILLE – Those choosing to make electronic payments for water fees and local taxes in Gates County need to be aware of an impending new program.

By later this week, Gates County government officials plan to have a new program in place – one that changes how electronic (credit card) payments are handled.

According to Gates County Manager Toby Chappell, clerks working the counters within the county’s tax and water departments will no longer process credit card payments. Instead, those wishing to pay electronically will be directed to a computer and telephone set-up within those offices capable of processing the payment.

“In simple terms, the clerks working the payment counters will no longer accept credit cards; the person making the payment will handle it themselves at a table set-up for their convenience,” Chappell said.

Chappell added that it may be more convenient for those making payments electronically to do it from their home….“but if you want to make a payment at the county tax/water office, we can accommodate your needs.”

As of Monday, Chappell said he was still in negotiation with two companies to provide this electronic payment service.

“We’re shopping for the best deal and it’s our goal to have the service provider chosen and the electronic payment program fully implemented by this Friday (Dec. 4),” Chappell said.

A key element of this program is that it shifts the fees associated with making an electronic payment from the county to the user. Chappell said that move will save the county between $12,000 and $14,000 per year.

“That cost was previously absorbed by all county residents, even though only a small percentage choose to pay their water bills and taxes electronically,” Chappell said. “Now the cost of operating this type of payment program will be on those who choose to pay electronically.”

Chappell added that no changes are in store for those who pay their taxes and water bills by cash or check.