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Local municipalities contract with county to collect tax payments

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A number of property owners around St. Croix County will be sending their January tax payments to a new address this year.

The St. Croix County treasurer's office has agreed to collect property tax payments for five new municipalities beginning in January.

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Taxpayers in the Town of Star Prairie, Town of Richmond, Village of Deer Park, Town of Glenwood and City of River Falls will be sending their first half payments, due Jan. 31, 2011, to St. Croix County Treasurer Laurie Noble instead of to the municipality's offices.

According to Noble, the county already collects property tax payments for 12 municipalities. Now they will be accepting payments for 17 towns, villages and cities.

The reasons why municipalities choose to contract with her office vary, Noble said. One municipality's clerk/treasurer didn't have access to a computer and wanted to make things run more efficiently. Other municipalities wanted to rid themselves of the administrative challenges of collecting and recording payments.

The switch is not only advantageous for the municipalities, Noble said, but it also can be a good thing for taxpayers.

Because the county's website, http://www.co.saint-croix.wi.us, is set up to accept electronic payments, people can pay their property tax bill with a debit or credit card.

"Some people will like that," Noble said. "We've gotten quite a few calls from people asking about that before."

While Noble admits the added workload in her office will be a challenge, she said everything should be handled by her staff.

As a result of the expanding collection agreement, an additional 225 payments (Deer Park), 2,040 (Town of Richmond), 2,050 (Town of Star Prairie) and 1,600 (River Falls) will be mailed to Noble's office.

"I do have seasonal people that we employ come in to help at various times," she said. "We've got a good system in place."

In the coming weeks, the St. Croix County treasurer's office will be printing out some 56,000 property tax bills. Those bills will be sent to the various towns, villages and cities and they will drop them in the mail to taxpayers.

"Even if we collect the payments, it's still the responsibility of the municipalities to mail them out," Noble said.

All property tax statements are required to be in the mail by the third Monday in December.

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