In what may be the first of its kind in the nation, an automated teller will be on duty at the Allen County Treasurer's office this fall to accept property tax payments – and to relieve the work load and stress of its human co-workers.
Treasurer Sue Orth said the $23,000 kiosk, developed specifically for Allen County by F&E Check Protector Co. of Northfield, Ohio, will be able to accept payments directly from its location outside her office in the Rousseau Centre and also electronically via phone or computer. The machine will be able to look up specific properties and process credit and debit cards, checks and cash – and give change to the penny if necessary. The machine will also be programmed to detect counterfeit currency, Orth added, and will print a receipt after payment..
During spring and fall tax seasons, a long line often forms outside Orth's office as people line up to pay or question their bills. Orth, who will personally help taxpayers learn how to use the machine this fall, said she hopes the technology will eventually make payment easier for property owners and less stressful for her employees.
She also hopes it will reduce the need for part-time employees during tax season. If if does, she said, “It should pay for itself within two years.” Payments will also continue to be accepted through current methods, such as in-person, through the mail and at most banks.
And if the experiment succeeds as well as Orth expects, other county departments may be able to adapt the technology for their needs. Treasurers in other counties have already expressed an interest in getting automatic tellers of their own.
In addition to the up-front cost approved Thursday, the county will pay $3,450 in annual licensing, support and maintenance fees.