Tax collection program busy despite strong winds

Jerrie Whiteley, Herald Democrat
Betty Taylor of Dorchester and her companion drop off her Grayson County tax payment Wednesday at the Grayson County Courthouse. (Jerrie Whiteley / Herald Democrat)

Grayson County Tax Assessor Collector Bruce Stidham never flinched Wednesday as the wind howled around the east parking lot at the Grayson County Courthouse. He said this is not the first year that the county’s annual drop off tax payment program has coincided with windy or cold weather.

“It was colder last year,” Stidham said, adding that though the wind was up last year as well, the weather conditions didn’t keep him from bringing the program back.

He said the number of people who use the drive thru payment option — now in its fifth year — continues to increase each year that it is offered. Last year, he said, there were roughly 300 people who dropped their taxes off and drove through. He expect to hear that number in 2018.

Lupe Symin said she really loved being able to drive through, especially since it meant she could skip getting out in the wind.

“I think it’s a better way (to make the payment),” she said. “You’ve got to do what you’ve got to do.”

Betty Taylor of Dorchester said she was very happy to be able to drop her payment off Wednesday.

“I have always mailed it in (in the past),” Taylor said, explaining she didn’t get around to it this year and was looking at having to stand in line.

Stidham said people have questions when they arrive at the drop off with their payments. Those who didn’t take advantage of the service this year, but who think they might next year need to know that the county only accepts checks or money orders and those payments should be in an envelope with the taxpayer’s name written on the outside.

However, Stidham had extra envelopes on hand this year and will again next year.

Each drive-thru taxpayer received a special card dated Jan. 31, as the date their envelope was deposited in the drop-off box. Actual receipts for payments will be mailed next week.

“If a taxpayer doesn’t receive their receipt in the mail, the card lets us know to check and see that the payment was made and to mail out a new receipt,” Stidham said earlier this month.

Grayson County Commissioners approved the use of the courthouse’s parking for the special one-day drive thru tax payment option earlier this month.

“I think anything we can do to make it easier to pay your taxes, like lowering the rate, is appreciated by our constituents,” Grayson County Judge Bill Magers joked, referencing the fact that the court has lowered the tax rate two years in a row.