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District moving ahead with fee increase

Shifting tax certificate service to online agency

The District of Houston is moving ahead with a plan to shift the provision of property tax certificates to an outside agency.

It’s a move, via a bylaw amendment, that will increase what is being charged in parallel to an uptick in District revenues.

Currently any property tax certificate requests from notary or legal firms come in by fax or via a phone call. This means staff must take the time to take the call, obtain the information and send the information off to the company,” a memo to council indicates.

Switching to an online service called Tax Certificates Online means that company will field customer service calls, take care of administrative tasks, handle fee collections and deposit money directly into municipal bank accounts.

The service will also increase revenues as payments do not incur charges or credit card transaction fees, the memo added.

The current tax certificate fee is $15 and with the online charge being $16.50, the total would come to $31.50.

But council is following through on a recommendation to charge $35, which is the median being charged by northwestern municipalities.

Current annual revenue of $2,175 would rise to a projected $5,075 under the new system.