Fresh off the success of last weekend’s opening series of taxpaying satellite sites, the Bradley County Trustee’s Office is geared up to do it again Saturday; at least, in two locations, one of which is the Courthouse office.
“It was our best year,” Deputy Trustee David Swallows said of last Saturday’s public response.
Although he didn’t have specific numbers available, Swallows pointed out all four satellite sites — Oak Grove, Hopewell and Waterville Elementary schools, as well as the Bradley Square Mall — maintained a steady flow of property-taxpaying traffic.
The Trustee’s Office is hoping for the same success Saturday when a second round of satellites open from 9 a.m. to noon. A satellite will again return to the mall, but this time it will set up at the Kmart entrance on the interior of the mall. Last Saturday’s mall location was the central fountain.
Just like last weekend, local taxpayers planning to settle up on unpaid tax bills at the mall location should bring with them their tax statement and a check. No cash or credit cards can be accepted at the mall site, Swallows stressed.
In conjunction with the mall satellite Saturday, the Trustee’s Office in the Courthouse also will be open. Hours will be 9 a.m. to noon. Taxpayers visiting the Courthouse office should bring their statements; however, those using the Trustee’s Office also will have the option of making their payments by check, cash or credit card.
Echoing the sentiment of Bradley County Trustee Mike Smith, Swallows said local residents who make use of additional services like the partial pay program or the satellites, are good about showing their appreciation or explaining to on-site workers why they take advantage of these services.
“We received a lot of thank you’s last Saturday at the satellites from people who wanted us to know they appreciated us being out in the community,” Swallows said. “These are folks who like the convenience [of paying their property taxes at locations closer to their neighborhoods as opposed to traveling all the way to the Courthouse].”
Swallows said all age groups are turning out for the satellites.
“It’s pretty much a diverse crowd,” he said.
Whether they’re young, old or somewhere in the vast in between, Bradley County taxpayers are making it known — through seven years of participation — that they appreciate the convenience of paying their taxes in temporary, close-to-home sites, the deputy trustee explained.
The satellite sites were originated by Smith in 2007, as another innovation from the Trustee’s Office. Another popular one is the partial pay program in which local taxpayers can customize installment plans for paying their levies; that is, instead of paying the conventional lump-sum amount once a year, they have the option of breaking it down into monthly or quarterly payments, or whatever payment schedule is the best fit for their incomes.
Some drop by the office monthly to pay their partial bill. Others send checks in the mail. And still others use a direct draft payment plan.
Of Saturday’s final satellites for the year, Swallows issued these reminders: Hours are 9 a.m. to noon, and only checks can be accepted at the Kmart site in the mall. All forms of payment — check, cash or credit card — will be accepted at the Courthouse office.
In either location, taxpayers are asked to bring their statements with them.
“It is growing,” Swallows said of the public’s response to the satellite program. “Participation is growing. Since we started the satellites seven years ago, participation has grown progressively.”
Those who have not yet paid their property taxes, and who miss Saturday’s final round of satellites, will have until Friday, Feb. 28, to make their Bradley County property tax payments. That’s only five days.
On weekdays, standard hours for the Trustee’s Office are 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The office is located in Suite 104 of the Courthouse. The phone number is 728-7247.