When it comes time to pay their city property tax or utility bills, Saratoga Springs residents will no longer have to waste a stamp or make the trip to City Hall. As YNN's Matt Hunter reports, in the coming days, city officials will unveil a city online bill payment system, designed to offer added convenience.
SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – Since moving to Saratoga Springs with his wife in 1986, Charlie Morrison has typically paid his property tax and utility bills the same way: In person.
"I only live five blocks away, so it's not too inconvenient to come down and see some of my friends here at City Hall and so forth," said Morrison, who paid his bill Monday afternoon.
While Morrison's 2013 bills are now paid in full through the year, in the future, he'll have a more convenient option. Within the next week, the city will launch a new online payment system.
"I do pay some bills online, but not many,” Morrison said. “I like to have a check that I, something I can go back to."
"They can use Visa, MasterCard, American Express, they can use an electronic check. You can still come in and pay your tax bill, it's just an extra added convenience," Saratoga Springs Finance Commissioner Michele Madigan said.
While taxpayers will be charged a small fee that varies depending on the bill's size and the payment option they choose, users will be able to skip the step of licking a stamp or heading to City Hall by simply logging onto the city's website.
"Everything is testing well here at the city, but we are also at the mercy of how it tests over at the Official Payments side,” said Madigan, referring to the company that will run the online payment system for the city. “We certainly don't want to roll something out unless we know it's working absolutely perfectly."
Madigan says the IRS and more than 2,300 municipalities already use the service.
Saratoga's site should launch within a week, giving taxpayers like Morrison plenty of time to pay this year's bills, which are due in March.
"More and more, people are computer literate and more and more people are paying their bills online and I think it's an up-to-date modern thing to do," Morrison said.