Sikeston residents may have noticed the new look for their 2006 real estate and personal property tax bills, but that is just the most obvious change, according to City Collector Vicky Jordan.
In prior years, it took four or five city staff members up to six weeks to process approximately 15,000 current and 3,000 delinquent municipal tax bills.
This year, it took the Collector's Office staff half that time.
The tax bills used to be printed on a three-part form, Jordan said.
The pink copy was mailed to the taxpayer as a statement. The white copy was held by the Collector's Office until the bill was paid and then returned to the taxpayer upon payment as a receipt. The third part was for the city's records.
"We would print the real estate and personal property tax bills separate, then we would intersperse them together, pull the pink copy out, and then insert those into envelopes for mailing," Jordan said of the old method.
Thanks to a computer program developed for the city of Sikeston, things are much more efficient now.
The program prints the tax bills which are then run through an automatic folding machine. "Once they're folded we put postage on them and they're ready to mail," Jordan said.
In prior years, an additional statement was attached showing delinquent amounts. On the new statement, all delinquent taxes are included.
The new software also streamlines the process of generating receipts for taxpayers as staff no longer have to pull a document out of file and stamp it as paid.
"The system automatically generates a paid receipt which saves us a lot of time," Jordan said.
In addition to providing cost savings for the city, the new statements have features that should prove useful for taxpayers
"The tax statements now offer more information," Jordan said. "We give them itemized breakdowns of where their tax dollars are going."
The new statements show exactly how much of their taxes are going to the city's general, park and library funds.
Other information is also included on the statements.
"Now the location of the property prints on the real estate tax bill," Jordan said.
And for those who put off paying this year's taxes, there is a column on the far right-hand side of the tax bill indicated the amount due with interest and late fees if the bill is paid after Jan. 2.
The 2006 municipal real estate and personal property taxes are due Dec. 31 but as this date falls on a Sunday, penalties and late fees will not be assessed until Jan. 2.
For any questions regarding Sikeston tax statements, contact the City Collector's Office at 471-2193