Tax office savings to be passed on to county citizens

Published 10:00 am Saturday, May 6, 2017

LaGRANGE – The tax commissioner’s office is looking to save some money on its banking fees, and a plan is already being put into place to pass that savings on to citizens of the county.

The Troup County Board of Commissioners met on Thursday and learned about changes going on in the tax office that may save citizens money even as the percentage of taxes collected continues to rise in the county.

“As it stood when I came into office, it was 2.25 percent plus a $.30 transaction fee, and that is a convenience fee that is charged to the citizens,” said Tax Commissioner Shane Frailey. “So, the checking account that we have – we don’t have to pay any fees on that – so I tried to keep that where we (at the county) didn’t pay any fees. The (proposed) bank came to me and talked about this. They looked. They had their company look – their company that handles their credit card processing come in – and now we are going to be able to change this from the 2.25 percent and $.30 transaction fee to a straight 2.15 percent with no transaction fee. That is saving the citizens (money).”

The county also expects to save $7,500 on contract services through the company which manages the tax and tags for the state of Georgia.

Frailey took over for long time Tax Commissioner Gary Wood in January, and while Frailey has stated his admiration for his predecessor, he has made a point of leaving his own mark on the office in these first few months with his self-described “aggressive” but “fair” approach to tax collection, which is the county’s primary source of revenue.

“A lot of counties – I called them and asked about their tax digest – and you know a lot of times they’ll look at the money, and a lot of counties base their collection rate on about 80 percent of their collection rate,” said Frailey. “I look at that, and after so many years, they are just going in the hole (financially). Because if you are saying 20 percent every year and bumping over to the next year and the next year (it adds up).”

Frailey reported that personal property tax collection rates are currently at 99.86 percent for the county, or about $3 thousand shy of the full tax collection amount.  The taxes on real property – like land and buildings – is currently at 99.12 percent collected with the office making moves to set up sales on property owing back taxes to the county if the taxes were not paid.

Other changes to the office include the removal of automated phones, an 8 a.m. opening time instead of 8:30 a.m., the removal of the ATM beside the office for easier movement and other minor changes that Frailey hopes will help make the process of coming up to his office as painless as possible.

The commissioners plan to vote on the change in banks on Tuesday if the paperwork comes through in time.

The Troup County Board of Commissioners is scheduled to meet again on May 9 at 9 a.m. at 100 Ridley Ave.