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Tax time will be made easier for residents in Scott County

Friday, August 31, 2007

Scott County Commission

BENTON -- Taxpayers hopefully won't hear the busy tone as much when they call the county collector's office during the upcoming tax season.

At the Scott County Commission's regular meeting on Thursday, Mark Hensley, county collector, asked if he could obtain a separate phone line for faxing and credit card payment purposes.

"Around tax time, I get a lot of complaints about the lines being busy," Hensley said. He's not sure what the volume of calls is during that time, but during the "slower" time between May and August, an average of 800 calls are received in the office each month. He said his office is probably the only one that deals with the public that has just one line.

"Our credit card payments are also growing and whenever we do a walk-in credit card payment, it just ties up the system for a long time," Hensley continued. Last year, almost $300,000 was charged to credit cards. "That's quite a bit for a county this size," he said.

Presiding Commissioner Jamie Burger asked Rita Milam, county clerk, what the cost would be to add another phone line. She estimated it would be between $70 and $80 a month and said she would check into it.

Hensley also asked for a new fax machine. "I'm still running on one of those old ones and it's just worn out," he said. He would buy it through the collector's maintenance fund. "That's real harmless to general revenue, he said.

Printing bids presented by Hensley were also approved. The bids were awarded as follows: statements, Moll Printing, $710; receipts, PDQ Printing, $742; envelopes, Meek's Printing, $1,4818.64; and thumb cut envelopes, PDQ Printing, $1,068.

Commissioners announced they are in the process of setting up a meeting with the Teamsters Local 600 Union out of St. Louis

"They want to meet with us to discuss law enforcement," said Commissioner Dennis Ziegenhorn. The commissioners received a letter from the union, which had been contacted by a member of the law enforcement team.

In late May, the state Supreme Court overturned a ruling that granted collective bargaining only to private workers as well as another that allowed public employers, such as schools and police departments, to ignore written agreements with employees.

"We're anxious to hear what they have to say," Burger said.

Also at the meeting, Monty Keesee, a contractor from the Scott City area, presented commissioners with his plans for Parkwood Estates, a proposed subdivision near Bell Crossing outside the Scott City city limits.

The plans include three duplexes. Keesee, who owns about 80 acres, said he eventually plans to build another subdivision on a nearby parcel of 18 acres, all with duplexes.

"I don't think there will be any problem with this, but we can't sign off until Tuesday," Burger said, citing the requirement that action items be on the agenda 24 hours prior to the meeting to allow for public comment.