New treasurer to make paying taxes easier

Published 12:00 am Thursday, September 29, 2005

Nobody likes paying taxes, but at least the process is getting easier.

Newly sworn in Lawrence County Treasurer Stephen Dale Burcham said beginning next year, four banks will begin accepting real estate tax payments at their Lawrence County branches: Ohio River Bank, City National Bank, Ohio Valley Bank and U.S. Bank.

Burcham said he hopes other financial institutions will follow suit.

Email newsletter signup

"People who want to pay their taxes at the courthouse still have the option of doing that and we will be happy to help them," Burcham said. "But this makes it more convenient, particularly for people in the eastern end of the county, who will not have to drive all the way to the courthouse just to pay their taxes."

The participating banks would only accept payments on current taxes only. Those property owners who are delinquent would still be required to visit the courthouse.

The county's new treasurer said his aim is to make his office more efficient, more user-friendly and to be a good steward of the county's money.

"This is better cash management for the county. We can draft the money to our accounts on a weekly basis and this will allow us to earn interest quicker," Burcham said. "We're trying to become more innovative."

Burcham said he is also exploring other options to make tax time easier for the tax-paying public and more efficient for his office.

One idea under consideration is the possibility of taking tax payments over the Internet, allowing people to have their payment direct-debited from either their bank accounts or credit card. This idea would require an upgrade to the treasurer's office computer hardware and software.

Another idea under consideration is to allow property owners to pay their taxes monthly, instead of twice a year. Again, this would require an upgrade of computer software, something for which Burcham said he is seeking proposals.

Burcham is also considering publishing the names of seriously delinquent tax payers on the treasurer's office Web site.

"Those who are trying, who are making payment arrangements and are working with us, we would not include their names on the list," Burcham said. "But those who are not paying and not trying, this hopefully would encourage them to become compliant on their taxes.

"Most people in Lawrence County are good about paying their taxes. And we're not out to get anyone, but we just want people to pay their share, especially in times when the county commission is struggling to find money and the sheriff's office needs money."