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City of Bethel Finance Department promotes payment options and reveals future plan

City of Bethel

Bethel’s Acting City Finance Director, Xavier Mason, is urging the public to pay bills for sales tax and utilities online.

“We've been utilizing this service for a few years. And we're kind of in the process of training the public on how to use it. It's Express Bill Pay; a lot of people use it to pay their utilities, some people are using an auto pay feature that allows the payment to happen automatically. For the utility services, I think less people are aware that you can also use the same service for your sales taxes,” Mason said.

Express Bill Pay isn’t the only option for folks to pay their bills.

“Some people pay via mail, a check in the mail. A lot of people pay over the phone. A lot of people come in person, however there has been an uptick with the online service. Primarily, I think, due to the pandemic. That's more like a global trend, actually. But those are the four or five ways that come to mind,” Mason noted.

Mason said that soon the City of Bethel Sales Tax Department will move forward with an appointment-based system.

“Part of the reason is because when it comes to sales taxes, there can be several minutia and complexities that take time. And to better serve our customers we need to start developing appointments so that we set time aside and prepare for them prior to their arrival,” Mason explained.

For example, there could be an individual that is paying the sales taxes for several entities, but each of those entities take time. Or if they're behind one month for one entity and on time for the others, that requires more work and attention to detail in order to figure out those calculations and work with the individual through that entire process. So Mason and his team are working to streamline the process, and he believes that an appointment based system will achieve that.

Francisco Martínezcuello was the KYUK News Reporting Fellow from November 2022 through January 2024. He is a graduate of UC Berkeley School of Journalism. He is also a veteran of the United States Marine Corps.