First year of real estate tax collection at banks a success

Published 12:00 am Saturday, June 3, 2006

They’re No. 1, at least insofar as county property taxes go, and now they have a certificate to prove it.

Late last year, Lawrence County Treasurer Stephen Dale Burcham asked area banks to collect real estate taxes, making it more convenient for property owners to make those payments.

Wednesday, he presented a certificate to officials at Liberty Federal Savings Bank in Ironton, which collected the most of any participating bank branch: nearly $114,000 for the first-half tax collection period ending in March.

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The total amount collected at all remote locations was $836,000. Burcham said the idea of being able to pay taxes along with bank transaction seems to be catching on with customers and bankers alike.

“This being our first time trying it (remote site collections), I’m pleased with the amount collected,” Burcham said. “We’re going to continue to get the word out and let people know. I’m looking for even bigger collections for the second half as people become more aware of the advantages of it.”

Liberty Federal President Mike Stewart said he had not anticipated the Ironton branch would take the top spot on the list of collectors — after all, it sits across the street from the Lawrence County Courthouse.

But he is pleased with the response customers have given the idea.

“I think it’s a great idea and it’s good for everyone,” he said. “The (private sector/ public sector) partnership we have here is a positive one.”

Most of the other top-collecting bank branches were in the eastern end of the county. Along with Liberty Federal Savings Bank, Oak Hill Banks, Ohio River Bank, City National Bank, Ohio Valley Bank and U.S. Bank all have agreed to accept tax payments.

Burcham said the second-half property tax bills will be mailed by mid-June. The last day to pay taxes is July 21.