By Daniel Brunty
The Choctaw Plaindealer
After numerous discussions, the Choctaw County Board of Supervisors approved to enter into an agreement which will allow the county offices to accept debit/credit cards for various uses.
During the board’s Nov. 27 meeting, it was presented with a proposal by a representative of Alpha and Omega Processing, a credit card processing company, which would allow them to install a debit/credit card service for the county offices.
During the presentation, it was explained to the board that the customer or resident is charged the convenience fee since the county cannot incur fees. The customer or resident could then use a debit/credit card to pay for tags, taxes, fines and possibly more. AOP would charge the resident 3 percent of the total bill as a convenience fee.
That service charge goes directly to AOP. So, if a customer or resident uses their debit card or credit card there will be 2 charges to their card, one for the service charge and one, for example, their tag or tax money.
The board did not take action on the matter until their Dec. 18th meeting, in which they approved the agreement for the county to accept debit/credit cards and give the county elected officials an option to participate.
The county is hoping the use of the debit/credit card system in the county offices will make transactions and dealing between the employees and the customer/residents as smooth and hassle-free as possible.
Choctaw County Chancery Clerk Steve Montgomery revealed some of the details of the new service. “Some of the offices that will be accepting those cards are the Tax Assessor, Justice Court, and Chancery Clerk for past due taxes only, as well as Solid Waste,” Montgomery said. “Some offices are accepting cards now, while we are working with the vendor to get the others ready as soon as possible.
Montgomery also explained some of the overall benefits for everyone with the service. “It will help the employees because they will be able to accept payments over the phone,” Montgomery said. “It will also give the citizens of the county more options and will hopefully allow those who might be a little short on cash at tax time to not suffer late fees on their taxes.”
Another reason why this service was looked into by county officials is because of popular demand by residents in the county. With multiple ways of rendering a payment, a lot of residents were seeing that those options regarding county offices were not available. Choctaw County Tax Assessor Lori Kerr was one of the county officials who insisted that this service was needed in the county.
“It was a request from the public,” Kerr said. “They wanted to have the option of cards, checks, or cash, now they do.”
Kerr is looking forward to residents reaping the benefits of the service immediately. “It’s not a benefit to the office as much as it will be a benefit to the public,” Kerr said. “It will give them a choice in payment. Some people don’t carry anything but their cards anymore. I believe it will be an asset to our office in that we can serve the citizens of Choctaw in more ways.”
With the addition of this new service, county officials are hoping that this will lead to other innovations that will make the quality of life better for the county and its residents.
“This is a service to the citizens/taxpayers of Choctaw County to help make interacting with county government as easy as possible,” Montgomery said. “We are constantly looking for ways to improve the citizen’s life in this county including transactions with the county.”
If you have any questions regarding the use of debit/credit cards in county offices, please contact one of the many Choctaw County offices.