In fact, compliments of the Bradley County Trustee’s Office, they have several options. Pay early. And pay closer to home.
In keeping with a 7-year-old tradition, the Trustee’s Office will reach into several neighborhoods on Saturday, Feb. 15, and the following Saturday, Feb. 22, to allow taxpayers to visit satellite locations to pay their property taxes.
“The satellite locations have been very popular with taxpayers,” Smith said. “They have eliminated the need for citizens to come to the Courthouse and they have allowed property owners to pay their property taxes closer to home.”
It’s not the first innovative idea the trustee has implemented for taxpayers. One of the most recognized — and among many community residents the most appreciated — is the partial payment plan whose signup deadline came last Friday. By the time the Trustee’s Office closed Friday at 4:30 p.m., staff members had registered the county’s 745th parcel in the partial payment plan.
Of this number, 170 have been signed up during the latest rounds of enrollments in late 2013 and early 2014.
Like the partial payment alternative, Bradley County taxpayers have shown a keen interest in the satellite locations. Although most residents adore the hometown feel of downtown Cleveland and its central business, government and professional services legacy, many aren’t fans of the limited parking.
That’s one of the purposes of the satellite locations for paying property taxes.
“[We] began having satellite locations in 2007,” Smith said. “A change made in 2012 will allow the locations to be open on the same Saturday.”
To pay at a satellite location, taxpayers must have their tax statement with them along with a check, Smith said. No cash will be accepted at the satellites.
Four satellite locations will be open Saturday, Feb. 15. These will be set up at Oak Grove Elementary School, Hopewell Elementary School, Waterville Elementary School and in the Bradley Square Mall near the central fountain. Hours at each satellite will be 9 a.m. to noon.
On Saturday, Feb. 22, a satellite will open again at the mall, but this one will be set up at the Kmart entrance. On the same day, the Trustee’s Office will be open to accept tax payments as well. Hours for both the Kmart and Trustee’s Office sites will be 9 a.m. to noon.
For additional information about the coming satellite locations, or any facet of the property tax payment process, area residents may call the Trustee’s Office at 728-7247. Or, they may drop in without an appointment. Traditional hours of the Trustee’s Office are 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Options for how, when and where to pay property taxes in Bradley County are often designed by the Trustee’s Office based on public input. This was certainly the case with the partial payment plan. In past interviews with the Cleveland Daily Banner, Smith has pointed to the needs of local taxpayers as being a factor in decisions to provide options.
The same sentiment was expressed late last week by Deputy Trustee David Swallows who told the Banner “... an overwhelming number of people” had been asking if they could make partial payments prior to the implementation of the program.
Under the partial payment plan, local taxpayers may visit the Trustee’s Office and design an installment payment cycle that is best for their income. Of those seeking the partial payment option, most prefer monthly payments as opposed to a large lump-sum paid once a year. However, plans are also set up for making payments every other month, quarterly, twice a year or whatever arrangement best suits the taxpayer.
Although the deadline for signing up for partial payment has passed for the coming tax year, a new open enrollment period will be offered later this year, and in early 2015.
“Of the 745 [now in the partial payment plan], 425 have chosen to utilize the monthly bank draft method of payment while the remaining 320 will be either mailing their payments or bringing them to the Trustee's Office,” Smith said. Office staff signed up 70 last Thursday and Friday on the final two days before deadline, he pointed out.
The partial payment plan was launched in March 2011.
“A few taxpayers’ request in 2010 for an easier and more convienent way to pay their property taxes in a slow economy, has resulted in a very popular program that has now spread among other counties across the state,” Smith said. “We are glad we can offer this service to Bradley County and look forward to its continued growth in the future."
The trustee added, “For taxpayers who did not sign up for the 12-month program, we still offer partial payments from October through February on current taxes. We also offer a partial payment program for delinquent taxes while they remain in the Trustee's Office. No sign-up is required for either of these programs.”
During any given year, property tax payments are normally accepted from Oct. 1 through the last day in February.
The Bradley County Trustee’s Office is located in Suite 104 of the Courthouse at 155 North Ocoee St.
“The satellite locations have been very popular with taxpayers. They have eliminated the need for citizens to come to the Courthouse and they have allowed property owners to pay their property taxes closer to home.” — Mike Smith