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GASD billPut taxes on a card for a fee

Thursday, May 22, 2014 - Updated: 10:13 AM

By CASEY CROUCHER

casey.croucher@recordernews.com

Taxpayers in the Greater Amsterdam School District will be able to pay their tax bills online starting this summer.

The board of education passed a resolution Wednesday night allowing residents to pay their bills with a credit card online beginning July 1.

Kim Brumley, school district business manager, said taxpayers who use this new system will have to pay a 3 percent convenience charge. The charge will be 3 percent of the total amount they are paying.

"If they pay quarterly it's 3 percent of whatever their quarterly amount is," she said. "If they pay for the entire year it would be 3 percent of their entire bill."

The additional credit card option will not cost the school district any money, however.

Brumley explained how she set up the school's credit card system with the company PowerPlay.

"We singled it down to three vendors, then we got down to two, then they asked us what we were interested in and I said 'anybody who makes us pay anything, I don't want to talk to them,'" she said. "[PowerPlay] was the best choice. They're so much more experienced and it was no cost to us, or we wouldn't have done it."

All of the payments will be done online, and Brumley said the company's website makes it clear to the user that they're paying their bill and there will be a 3 percent charge.

"About 12 different times you have to click 'yes' that you're willing to pay your fee," she exaggerated. "I think it's four times throughout the entire process and even before you hit the last button a window pops up that says 'you're agreeing to pay the 3 percent fee' and it tells you how much that is, and even at that time you can back out and decide you don't want to do it."

"There will be people that want to do this and as long as they're fully aware of what the fee is, more power to them," board member John Bottisti said.

Brumley said the company's website records everyone's answers to the pop-up windows.

"They're recording everyone who says 'I agree, I agree,'" she said. "The company said they do get people who call and say 'I never said that,' and [PowerPlay] will just look back into the records and say 'yes, you did.' But sometimes they'll reverse it back out and say never mind."

Brumley said she's received a few calls in the past questioning why the district doesn't have the credit card option; however, she's not certain if the option will be popular.

"I'm not sure how much activity we'll get on this," she said. "A lot of people like to use credit cards for frequent flyer miles, for cash back, for record keeping. I don't know how popular it will be, but it's another option out there."

The new system will except all major credit cards except American Express because they would have charged the school district a fee.

     

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