Monday, October 26, 2009

Jacksonville Mayor John Peyton wants to put city fees on property tax bill

Jacksonville Mayor John Peyton hopes to add $6 million to city coffers by changing the way solid waste and stormwater fees are collected.

Peyton’s office is proposing adding the fees to property tax bills, which is expected to increase the number of households that actually pay the bill.

Since the fees were approved by the City Council in 2007, the city has been sending out separate bills and looking for a more efficient, less expensive way to collect the money.

About 83 percent of those billed have paid, but the city is projecting a 95 percent collection rate if the fees are on property tax bills, said Marcy Cook, manager of special initiatives for the Public Works Department.

The city is expected to collect about $40 million in solid waste and stormwater fees this year and is estimating bringing in $46 million if the switch is made, said Sherry Hall, a Peyton policy director.

The city also spends $730,000 a year to mail the bills, which the Tax Collector’s Office could do for about $500,000 a year, Hall said.

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