NORWALK, Conn. — The City Hall walk-up window has been getting plenty of use recently, as evidenced in a set of photos submitted to NancyOnNorwalk.
Although taxpayers were granted an extension to Oct. 1, many people are instead heading to City Hall to pay their taxes as soon as possible. Lines have formed, reportedly all day.
“We’ve reminded taxpayers of the grace period due to COVID-19, and the fact they can pay online, by mail, or at multiple banks, but some want to take care of it right away and prefer to use City Hall,” Norwalk Communications Manager Josh Morgan said in a Wednesday email.
This is in spite of a new online payment service. Tax Collector Lisa Biagiarelli told Common Council members on June 11 that the new vendor would offer a “much more customer friendly experience,” which, “in light of COVID” is “important.” Also, the E-Checks “will be only 95 cents… less than the cost of a cup of coffee,” offering a safe alternative to in-person interactions.
The window opened April 28. On May 13, another window opened for people seeking parks or disposal passes.
The Tax Office was “really glad” the window was opened, she said. “It’s serving us well because it looked like the building’s kind of closed for a while, but the customers are very happy about it. Our employees are wearing masks, of course … We’re entirely up to date with our work. … We’re collecting money. We’re posting payments. We’re releasing liens. We’re issuing refunds. We’re communicating with our people, we’re answering the phone. We’re answering mail. We’re doing everything we’re supposed to be doing.”
Some customers like to pay at the bank and thankfully, the banks had agreed to do it, she said. “There’s a demographic in Norwalk that likes to have an in-person transaction. And we don’t want to lose that revenue, we want them to be able to pay the way they want to pay.”
“The rush to pay taxes is nothing new, and something we experience each time tax bills are sent,” Morgan said. “We expect it to slow down within a week or two.”