PLYMOUTH - Residents now have a more convenient option for paying their tax bills.
The Town Council recently approved an expanded trial of an agreement with Thomaston Savings Bank allowing residents to pay their tax bills at the bank’s Terryville branch, located at 203 Main St.
The town tried a lightly publicized version of the arrangement for the July property tax bills, which Mayor David Merchant said went well.
Tax Collector Joseph Kilduff said there was no advertising for the first trial.
“It was basically only regular customers for Thomaston Savings Bank that knew about it,” he said. “They put a sign up in the branch. We wanted a soft opening to make sure the system worked well and it did, so we decided to expand it going into the future and make sure people are aware of it.”
The new agreement is for one year, starting Oct. 1 so people can pay their sewer bills, Kilduff said. “The bank is open late Thursdays and open Saturday mornings, so there’s expanded hours to pay your taxes.”
“The one caveat is it’s only for current taxes, so people who are delinquent still have to come to the Town Hall to pay,” he explained.
Kilduff said it’s also a more secure method for customers who prefer to pay in cash.
“Since I’ve been here two and a half years now, one of the things that’s always amazed me is you have a lot people that come in with a ton of cash, especially seniors. It’s a little concerning that they’re stopping at the bank, grabbing thousands of dollars and walking here to pay their taxes, whereas if they are already a customer of Thomaston Savings Bank they can do it right there,” he said.
“We have a good working relationship with them and eventually we may be able to expand to delinquent taxes too but we’re going to start slow and make sure what we do it right. Then we can move on and expand as they get more comfortable and they realize how much staffing they need to accommodate us and we get comfortable with the process as well,” he said.
If it continues to go well the bank could even start offering the service in other communities it serves, he added. “Eventually you may be able to pay your taxes at any branch for Thomaston Savings Bank.”
Danbury Savings Bank already provides this service for Danbury, charging the city 50 cents per transaction, Kilduff said. “We negotiated with Thomaston Savings Bank to charge us 20 cents, which I think is an excellent deal. This is only a one-year agreement. If we find out it’s something that we want to pass on then we can do that, but I really think it’s worth the money for the convenience to the tax payers.”
“I think it’s a great idea,” said council member Susan Murawski. “I was at Thomaston Savings Bank the other day and there were no lines. I came to the Town Hall for something and there were five or six people waiting to pay their taxes.”
Kilduff said he expects the arrangement will help reduce lines at Town Hall too. He suggested eventually people could arrange to pay monthly into an account at the bank so they don’t have to pay one lump sum when their local taxes are due.
Fellow council member Daniel Gentile was also enthusiastic. “It gives flexibility to people in town so if they get out of work late they can go to the bank, and they don’t have to worry about getting to Town Hall.”
Susan Corica can be reached at 860-973-1802 or firstname.lastname@example.org.