STAHN: Tax payers should find another way

The City of Kamloops spent $45,000 this year on a temporary tax office just to help residents who insist on paying their tax bills in person avoid the construction taking place outside of City Hall. 

Does that make sense in 2014?

Only 2,600 people used the temporary office at McArthur Island working out to a cost of roughly $17 per person. Those 2,600 people only accounted for about seven per cent of the nearly 35,000 tax bills issued in 2014. Another 17 per cent chose to pay in person at City Hall.

There was another way — the other 26,300 property owners figured it out: They paid online, at their bank or by mailing a postdated cheque.

If the city made it harder to pay in person, more people would turn to their banks or online to pay. It would be an easy way to lower the cost of collecting taxes. It would save a month of extra man hours put in by city staff to specifically deal with the roughly 400 people who come on a daily basis during the month of June.

Add $11,000 in marketing this year just to tell people how and where to pay their bill. Private companies don't do that. Miss your phone bill and you’re cut off. Miss your hydro payment and say goodbye to your air conditioning.

Losing a service is incentive enough. You know the City can take your home for not paying taxes, right?

Coun. Tina Lange called that office a ‘failure’ and suggested a user pay system and she's got a point. You want to pay in person? Then for that privilege you should have to pay for cost of collecting that money.

To contact a reporter, email Jennifer Stahn at jstahn@infonews.ca or call 250-819-3723. To contact an editor, email mjones@infonews.ca or call 250-718-2724.


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