Paying taxes may not be easy on the wallet, but Forsyth County hopes to make it more convenient with the addition of a drive-through at the tax commissioner’s office.
The two-window island building in front of the office on Tribble Gap Road in Cumming is expected to open in mid-October, about a month before the Nov. 15 property tax deadline.
Both an increase in customers and an aim for great service prompted the idea, said Tax Commissioner Matthew Ledbetter.
“It’s the convenience factor of not having to unload and come all the way in the building,” said Ledbetter, naming senior citizens and parents with children in tow as some of those who will benefit most from the feature.
Property tax payments and tag renewals will be accepted at the windows.
Ledbetter expects that two employees will move from the main building to the work stations inside the drive-through, which can be accessed from either side.
The drive-through will provide the same face-to-face service that Ledbetter covets in the office.
“I think we’re one of the only county offices that greets you when you come in the door and gets your name … and calls you up by name,” he said. “We try to be as customer service-oriented as we can.”
Though people can pay property taxes online or by mail, Ledbetter estimated about 30 to 35 percent visit the main office or the satellite facility at Sharon Springs Park.
Visiting the Cumming office earlier this week, Pam Sinyard said she prefers to pay her taxes and tags at the facility. Getting that same feel with the ease of the drive-through is “a great idea.”
Amy Young, pushing a stroller into the office, said she’d like the drive-through option, since she wouldn’t need to unload her toddler.
The drive-through will also help meet the increasing number of customers the office serves, Ledbetter said.
He’s amazed that the county has been averaging about 235,000 tags each year.
“With home sales the way they are, I thought it would have [gone] down a little bit, but it continues to increase,” he said.
Construction of the drive-through in Cumming totaled about $70,000, which was funded 50-50 from the office’s budget and the county’s contingency fund.