SLO County residents will soon have a new way to pay their property taxes.
The SLO County Board of Supervisors approved a resolution to promote a new online payment system that will allow county homeowners to pay their property taxes in monthly installments.
- File Photo By Dylan Honea-Baumann
- A NEW WAY TO PAY Homeowners in SLO County have the opportunity to pay their property taxes in monthly installments instead of twice per year, thanks to a new program.
"I think it's a pretty neat thing," SLO County Treasurer and Tax Collector Jim Erb said. "We are kind of the first county in the state to have an official installment program."
Currently, SLO County taxpayers have to pay their property taxes in two installments per year. But for some, those larger biannual payments can be a financial hardship. The new payment system, called "Easy Smart Pay," was developed by a private corporation and allows users to pay the property taxes in monthly installments online, similar to a mortgage.
"This would help soften the blow on people with a limited income," Erb said. "A lot of people are more used to paying monthly bills as opposed to paying them twice a year."
Erb said that 2nd District Supervisor Bruce Gibson requested that the county look into the program, in part to help Los Osos residents deal with sewer service charges placed on their property tax bills for the first time beginning in the 2017-18 fiscal year.
"It's really is a jump into, let's call it the 21st century for how county residents can interact with their government," Gibson said. "Hopefully we can see this expand."
At an Oct. 2 meeting, Erb told the supervisors that the program would be piloted and promoted in Los Osos but would still be available to any county taxpayers. While the system will allow taxpayers in Los Osos and others to pay what they owe on a monthly basis, the service won't be totally free. According to a county staff report, Easy Smart Pay will bill users for the service, with the fee spread out over their monthly payments. The company will charge 2.25 percent for debit and credit payments or 1.75 for electronic checks. Those fees are compared to the county, which currently charges 2.39 percent for debit or credit payments, and no charge on electronic checks.
For more information about the program, residents can go to easysmartpay.net, Erb said.