Glenville residents will have to pay their taxes at town hall or online — not at First National Bank of Scotia this year.
The Town Board decided not to enter into another contract with the bank for tax-collection services. Supervisor Chris Koetzle said Wednesday that the bank’s proposed fee was in the range of $10,000 to $12,000, which is higher than what the town had budgeted. He believes Glenville can collect the town, county, school and water taxes more inexpensively in house.
Koetzle had reorganized town tax collection after longtime Receiver of Taxes Joan Menhinick abruptly retired at the end of December 2011 with two years left in her term. The board appointed Patrick Aragosa as a part-time assessor and contracted with First National Bank of Scotia to collect taxes for the rest of 2012 at a cost of $7,000.
Koetzle said Aragosa has improved the efficiency of the department. Notably, he implemented a system of putting bar codes on the tax bills. This allows them to be scanned and a person’s tax bill information comes up on a screen. Previously, somebody would have to type the information into the system.
“It’s unbelievable how quick it makes it,” Koetzle said.
Koetzle estimated that the changes have saved at least $15,000. The town didn’t need to fill a vacancy in the tax office because of the reorganization.
In a referendum last April, voters approved changing the receiver of taxes position from elected to appointed. However, the change can only take effect at the end of 2013, when Menhinick’s four-year term would have been up.
Koetzle said he would eventually like to contract out the position.
“It’s a part-time position right now,” he said.
Glenville residents will have the option to pay their taxes by mail, in person at the Glenville Municipal Center at 18 Glenridge Road or online using the town’s secure portal on its website at www.townofglenville.org.
Ken Swain, vice president and retail area manager for First National Bank of Scotia, said bank officials assessed the last two collections it did to come up with its fee.
“I can certainly appreciate that municipalities are taking a harder look at their expenditures. As a taxpayer, I live in the town of Glenville as well. I feel the tax collection model using a local community bank makes sense,” he said.
Among the advantages the bank offers, according to Swain, is the ability to pay at multiple branches, longer hours and a drive-thru window.
He believes last year’s collection went well and wants to work with the town again.