Credit card payment plan to be considered by city

EAST LIVERPOOL – With more and more consumers relying on credit cards to pay their bills, City Council on Monday will be considering legislation that would allow payment of city income taxes by similar methods.

Tax Commissioner Linda Harpold requested the ordinance, which would authorize the mayor to enter into an agreement with Official Payments Corporation to establish a program through which tax bills can be paid with credit cards, debit cards and online.

At this time, no such payments are accepted in the tax department, and Harpold said this would allow taxpayers another option to pay both current and delinquent bills.

Chairman Bill Hogue said the same system seems to be working effectively in Municipal Court, and the water department is in the process of implementing the same type of system for water bills.

For many people, Hogue said, this is the only way for them to become current and remain current on their tax obligations and paying with credit or debit cards and online is “the way of the world.”

If approved by council, there would be a fee assessed by the company for those paying by credit or debit card, according to Harpold, who also said no cards will be accepted by tax department personnel but only online.

“The auditor suggested that we don’t even touch (credit/debit cards) and there will be no swiping it here,” Harpold said, adding that card use will be online only.

Taxpayers will still be able to pay at the tax department with cash or checks.

Committee member Ray Perorazio said it seems inconvenient for taxpayers who come to the office with their paperwork to then have to return home to use a computer to pay their bill, and Hogue said the no-swiping matter could be revisited after this tax year “if people are lined up outside the door with credit cards.”

The legislation was forwarded for council’s consideration.

Also forwarded were two resolutions requesting approval from the state auditor for council to establish two new funds, one to accept money for a proposed drug awareness program and the other for an urban redevelopment tax increment equivalent fund (TIF) in connection with the New Castle School of Trades project.

Auditor Marilyn Bosco said the city is expecting to receive donations toward the drug awareness program to be implemented in the schools, which will include a police officer on duty, and Hogue said, “The chief really needs a place to hold the money separately from other operational funds in the department.”

The TIF fund will hold revenue in lieu of taxes from the NCST project that will be used for urban development, according to Bosco and Hogue.

Council will also revisit an ordinance establishing wages and benefits for non-union employees which was amended at its last meeting.

The committee forwarded it again for council’s review after Bosco said she discovered a typographical error in the legislation regarding the salary amounts for the utilities director and waste water superintendent.