RACINE — The city’s finance chief is hoping to convince aldermen to do away with a program that lets residents spread their property tax payment over four installments. 

This isn’t the first time Finance Director David Brown has made the pitch to aldermen, but his reasons for asking for a change are the same — reduced workloads for a reduced staff.

Brown first approached the Finance and Personnel Committee with the idea in September 2011. At that time, he said moving away from a four-payment installment program to the two-payment installment program would save the city $75,000 in labor costs.

The savings were to come from eliminating a vacant part-time payroll technician position and reducing the hours of a full-time customer service specialist, which was also vacant at the time. By eliminating vacant positions, the costs would be taken out of the budget.

The committee recommended the change, but the City Council rejected it two months later after nine alderman — many of whom said they heard complaints from taxpayers — voted “no.”

Today the city, or rather the Finance Department which oversees the City Clerk and Treasurer’s Office, finds itself in a staffing situation similar to the one it was in two summers ago.

Brown said Monday that getting rid of the extra processing work created by the four-payment installment plan will help would reduce labor costs.

“We lost one of our customer service people this year, and we have less manpower to (process payments) so anything we can do to reduce the work load and save money, we should do it,” Brown said. “We had five counter people and now we are down to four.”

Brown added that of the roughly 27,000 property tax bills the city sends out each year, 6,200 are on the installment plan. That’s about 23 percent of taxpayers. While this move would not cost taxpayers more, it would eliminate the option of spreading their taxes over four payments.

“We are the only jurisdiction in the county that has anything other than a two-installment plan, so it would put us in line with what everybody else is doing,” Brown said.

He will be discussing the proposal with City Council’s Finance Committee next week.

(10) comments

mt_pleasantly
mt_pleasantly

Exactly. Look how long it took the DMV to accept debit cards.
Online payment should be minimal, if not free. Pay Pal charges less.

Mastiff Mom

Here's an idea: you want less paperwork and less need for a human being to process these?? How about making the online payment fees less?? They have a third party charging high fees so of course it's worth your while to stand in line than pay $25 or more a payment.

Then it's all done online with no need for a person. Send a receipt for the payment automatically or they can print it.

johmny

Come on? I've got enough problems making the 4 payments. Now they want to make it 2.

ordmm

C'mon people. Moneys real tight all over. Google City of Racine salaries....David Brown $97,000. per year....total estimated pension payout including social security 1,950,000.00.
(Yeah one million nine hundred fifty thousand). The man knows his numbers. Tough being short a person on the counter.

Rachelcomm

That's why we are moving to Iron River Michigan property taxes are $599 a year. I pay that in just one of my four payment here. Just keep driving this city into the ground the people who pay will leave and you will be stuck with the people who just drain our society.... Morons

Murphy's Law

What a bunch of BS! How about they take some of the 1.2 million dollars promised to the stagnant Porters revitalization project and put it to good use helping the citizens of the city? Oh wait, they can't. They already paid it out. Losers.

RacineBizGuy

How about doing away with the storm water surcharge for commercial properties? It is truly a form of extortion that victimizes local property owners. I heard that the idea behind it was to create a fund that will be used to offer incentives to attract businesses to the area. How about letting existing businesses keep some of their hard earned money?

Green Racinereal

Hey RootWorks has to be paid for somehow! Do you not want Dickert's cronies to get bank?

tuco

So maybe the taxes will drop so those of us who struggle can make 2 payments instead of 4? I don't think so.

ggodmuls
ggodmuls

I'm surprised the City isn't asking residents to pay taxes one year in advance. That's probably next.

The smart money has already left Racine.

Eventually the money runs out. Much of America was shocked when the city of Detroit defaulted on a $39.7 million debt payment and announced that it was suspending payments on $2.5 billion of unsecured debt, but those who visit my site on a regular basis were probably not too surprised. Anyone with half a brain and a calculator could see this coming from a mile away. But people kept foolishly lending money to the city of Detroit, and now many of them are going to get hit really hard. .

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2013-06-17/rotting-decaying-and-bankrupt-%E2%80%93-if-you-want-see-future-america-just-look-detroit

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