In the last week, I have received numerous calls and emails from constituents about the convenience fee charged to pay taxes on line through the city’s website.
First, I want to commend the administration of Mayor Ras Baraka for implementing system that allows our residents to pay property taxes on-line or by phone with credit/debit cards or e-checks. This is a step in the right direction.
Since I joined the City Council in 2006, I have been a longtime advocate for expanding e-government services. I look forward to the day when we also offer this service for water and sewer payments.
However, residents who contacted my office expressed concern about the 2.25 percent convenience fee for taxpayers who use credit or debit cards to pay their bills whether on line or at the cashier window.
While it is certainly reasonable to charge a convenience fee, a 2.25 percent fee tacked on to a tax bill is a significant amount of money for our residents. Based on the average 2014 tax bill in Newark of $5,365, this would be an additional $120 charged to our taxpayers.
During our public meeting on Wednesday, I asked the business administrator to look into ways to reduce the convenience fee or cap it.
In the meantime what do you think?