EMERALD ISLE — Emerald Isle property owners should receive their tax bills in the mail soon, if they haven’t already, and for the first time in years, they’re being sent out by Carteret County.
Town commissioners voted in December to consolidate the municipal bills with the county’s and let the county handle the work under a contract.
Laura Rotchford, the town’s finance director, said Tuesday the move was made for several reasons, including efficiency for employees and convenience for property owners.
“When we looked at it, we discovered that it was really more than a full-time job to do it in-house, because of all the phone calls asking questions and doing the mailings,” she said. “And we also had to have someone dealing with those things when the tax collector went on vacation.”
For property owners, the benefit is simplification. They now get one tax bill, whereas before, they would get at least two, one from the town and one from the county. In some cases, Ms. Rotchford said, owners got as many as six bills, including the ones for boats and other vehicles.
“That was a lot of paperwork for the residents,” she said. “And it’s actually less work for the county, too, since they don’t have to separate out reports for the town. It’s kind of an ‘economy of scale.’”
In his presentation to town commissioners in December, Town Manager Matt Zapp said it would save Emerald Isle approximately $18,000-20,000 in the first year because of the elimination of the need to update software.
No one lost a job. Gail Knapp had been the tax collector, but now is an administrative assistant.
Mr. Zapp also checked with other towns – Beaufort, Bogue, Cedar Point, Cape Carteret and Peletier – that contract with the county for tax collection services and found they had no complaints.
The town has gotten a few calls from residents who have already received their bills, mostly to make sure everything was as it should be, Ms. Rotchford said Tuesday.
She added the town is still available to answer any questions property owners have about their bills. The only real difference, she said, is they can’t come to the town administration building to pay those bills and must go to county offices in Beaufort or Cedar Point or pay them online.
The bills are available online at carteretcountytax.com/.
Those who want to ask questions directly to the county can reach the tax office at 252-728-8485 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Contact Brad Rich at 252-864-1532; email Brad@thenewstimes.com; or follow on Twitter @brichccnt.