In the past, when Anne Arundel County residents opted to pay bills online, they were assessed a significant fee for paying by check or credit card as a result of a requirement in the County Code that dictated that fees be passed on to customers. At the direction of Anne Arundel County Executive Laura Neuman, those fees have been renegotiated, along with other changes, to make doing business with Anne Arundel County simpler and less costly for residents.
“I asked each of our department directors to examine every process and every fee assessed our residents and find ways to make those processes less cumbersome to save our residents time and money,” said County Executive Neuman. “We have announced several cost-cutting and cost-saving measures over the past several months, with more to follow.”
Several improvements are being announced in the County’s Office of Finance. The office will no longer be printing duplicate checks, instead the checks will be electronically stored ultimately saving money on printing and offsite storage costs. This change to storing checks electronically also will improve customer service because check retrieval will be faster.
Additionally, the Office of Finance has successfully negotiated several changes to online payment options through the County’s website. These negotiations have resulted in a reduction of online check fees from $3.00 to $1.50, saving customers money and making the online payment system more efficient. While the Office of Finance has always accepted Visa for property taxes, that fee has been reduced from 2.75 percent to 2.6 percent. For the first time since September 2004, the Office of Finance will now be accepting online Visa payments for utilities with a charge of only $2.75 per transaction. Visa was dropped as a method of payment in 2004 because of high per-transaction fees ($5.95) and a stipulation in the contract with the credit card company requiring a $5.95 fee be charged on ALL other credit card payments.
Earlier this month, the Anne Arundel County Department of Inspections and Permits announced “Direct Pick-Up” service for customers picking-up approved plans and permits from the Permit Application Center. That followed an earlier announcement by the same department to reinstate the Trade Desk to allow staff to serve the specific needs of customers who are not applying for building or grading permits. Taking certain individuals out of the first come, first served pool ultimately reduces wait times and better serves ALL customers in the Permit Application Center.