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Lockbox not a lock in Bethlehem

Receiver of taxes speaks against automated payment collection

— “As you can imagine, this taxpayer was not happy with the insurance company’s Lockbox system,” Mendick said.

Cohen said in its review, the town contacted officials in the City of Albany and Rensselaer County, both of which use Lockbox, and received glowing comments about the system’s ease of use and accuracy.

Cohen added the optical character recognition technology used by Lockbox has become much better in recent times, and said the town would be able to set rules for the handling of checks so that any payment with a possible discrepancy would be sent to the Receiver’s office to be processed.

“I think a lot of Nancy’s concerns may be stemming from older issues years ago,” he said.

Any cost savings to the town were not discussed in detail, though if staff spends less time processing payments there would potentially be staffing implications. Supervisor John Clarkson said he is opposed to making any layoffs but shrinking staff through attrition is definitely on the table.

“We’re not saying we’re going to make any reductions in staff now … but it is a major workflow reducer,” he said of Lockbox.

Clarkson expressed his support for the system, but other board members were less enthused. Councilman Kyle Kotary said he’d like to here more testimonials from other municipalities, and also wondered at the size of the benefit to the town.

“What is the real savings to the town? A credit is a credit,” he said.

After the meeting, Mendick said she is still opposed to the Lockbox system, but if the Town Board decides to adopt it she would work with that decision.

“I like the way our office is now, I think we offer good service and I’d like to continue it,” she said.

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