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Paying tax, water bills online set for Lockport town residents

Town residents will be able to pay their property taxes and water bills online come the new year, Supervisor Marc R. Smith said Wednesday.
Smith said at a Town Board work session that he has settled on Systems East as the vendor for the credit card payments, after interviewing eight firms.

Those who want to pay by credit card will have to add a 2.33 percent convenience fee for the privilege, which Smith said was the lowest of the companies he considered.
Final approval of the contract will wait until after Systems East meets with the town clerk, tax collector and court staff. The credit card arrangement is expected to apply to fines and bail, Smith said.

"We're probably going to do a phased approach," Smith said, speculating that water bills might be the first to go to online payments.

Taxpayers who prefer to pay in person still will be allowed to do so. Also, Systems East will provide card swiping machines for those who would rather use their credit cards at the collector's office.

The town will take another technological step forward with a $29,600 grant from the state Office of Real Property Tax Services.

The money will fund software that will enable the town to place a wide range of planning and zoning information on its Web site, www.elockport.com.

Work will be done by Wendel Duchscherer of Amherst and Systems Development Group of Utica.
Smith said the selection of maps will include aerial photos of the whole town, with map overlays showing property lines and borders of zoning classifications, school districts, fire districts, election districts and even the divisions that show which parts of town have garbage collection on any given day.

The information has been available on the companies in the townfor the past year.

"Now we're making 95 percent of it available to the public," Smith said.
Also Wednesday, Town Engineer Robert D. Klavoon said work on construction of a new sewer pump station on East High Street may begin in August, which is sooner than previously thought.
The move of the sewer station, which is currently located on a resident's front lawn, has been held up because of manufacturing delays on the new pump, Klavoon said.

Also on Wednesday, it was noted that the town has been unable to sell a house on Akron Road it seized for unpaid taxes about a decade ago. Smith said the town will demolish it unless someone comes up with a purchase offer by July 9.

The catch is, the buyer must agree to move the house at his own expense. It lies in the path of the town's planned extension of Ernest Road.
Smith said the estimated cost of demolishing the house is $5,300. "Even $1 (as a purchase offer) would be preferable to spending the money to demolish it," he said.

e-mail: tprohaska@buffnews.com

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