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Board to keep tax collection local

January 26, 2009|By JENNIFER FITCH

MERCERSBURG, Pa. -- Tuscarora School Board members said Monday they prefer having local representatives assist taxpayers even though elected tax collectors cost more than collection companies.

The school board recently reviewed several proposals from what the superintendent called "locked-box systems." Those companies collect and record per capita and property tax payments.

The latest proposal under review, from Fulton Financial, would cost the district $7,200 a year. That's compared to tax collectors, who would be involved with the thousands of taxpayers, receiving $3.30 per parcel.

The state average is approximately $2 per parcel, Superintendent Rebecca E. Erb said.

The school board asked Erb to set up a meeting to negotiate a better rate with the tax collectors, considering they've relied more on computerized systems in recent years. Area tax collectors in attendance at Monday's board meeting agreed to talk about it.

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Board member Daryl Hunsberger said he likes having someone in the community who can be approached with questions. Senior citizens, especially, might better appreciate having someone available, rather than using a computer or automated phone system, he said.

Otherwise, "who is going to answer questions from mortgage companies? Who is going to answer questions from settlement companies?" asked board member Larry Funk.

"We're doing it as a service for our community members," board member Donald Piper said.

The method of collection can be changed during a window of time that opens every four years prior to a municipal election, according to Erb.

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