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Automatic Payment Woes on Property Tax Bills Could Cost You Penalties

We were alerted about automatic payments not processing by a follower of the Madison County News Network and followed up on the phone with Dan Girt, the county treasurer, who informed us that the payment processor collecting the automatic payments no longer processes the automatic payments for property taxes. Mr. Girt mentioned that he sent a mass email out in July and also posted a public notice in the newspaper. We were informed that you can pay it online still but, through their payment processor. is the link I found, or you may pay in person during regular business hours. The reason for the automatic payment stop is still unknown, but it will not stop a late fee. Girt said in a very short phone call the previous bank processor stopped.

The availability of information becomes a concern to several followers as they mention that they may not check the newspaper, and mass emails could land in spam folders and never get checked. Many will not be affected by this snag because their mortgage company pays the property taxes. We made sure that Mr. Girt has the support email for the Madison County News Network in the event he needs to get information out in addition to the resources he uses. I made it a point to explain to him that my efforts are to make sure that the community remains informed and to make sure that everyone has the information readily available, if we saved someone from a fine, then we did our job.

As we started looking into this story this afternoon, we discovered that finding the right link from the main site requires users to scroll to find it; the screenshot below shows it highlighted, this is four columns down or in the 3-bar untitled menu.

When we click the link, it pulls the following image up with a link for users to click through to the treasurer's website, but the visible link does not show on some cellular devices like the iPhone X, as you see in the picture, the link is only discoverable in the office contact button at the bottom. Side by Side Screenshots from a desktop and iPhone X

Some anti-virus programs will stop you from visiting the link:

While visiting the websites and clicking through my anit-virus notification came up as the site shows unsecured; as the image below shows, many users that try to access this link will see the same screen we saw. If you are able to get through that, you will find the link where you can make a payment, and the processor is secure even though the site is not. We should mention the only shows as unsecured and not flagged "dangerous" is not HTTPS secured

The payment processor CSG Forte is based in Allen, Texas claims to have lower processing fees but we have not researched and compared to validate that. Several government organizations use them, such as Lucas County, Ohio. The following image is from explains in a bit more detail on who collects the fees and how it works.

What is the difference between HTTP and HTTPS

The letters "HTTP" are an abbreviation. Hyper Text Transfer Protocol Secure (HTTPS) is the secure version of HTTP, the protocol over which data is sent between your browser and the website that you are connected to. The 'S' at the end of HTTPS stands for 'Secure'. It means all communications between your browser and the website are encrypted. If you are just browsing the web, looking at cat memes, and dreaming about that $200 cable knit sweater, HTTP is fine. However, if you're logging into your bank or entering credit card information on a payment page, it's imperative that URL is HTTPS. Otherwise, your sensitive data is at risk. We remind you the payment part IS secure, but given that there is a plethora of databases attached to the website, and the nature of it, the community would benefit from this site being secured, even if the information is public information. An example of the difference can be seen by looking at Indianapolis' Treasury website, which serves the same purpose for Indianapolis as the one does here.

There are several ways to pay your property taxes if you have not done so in addition to these, several banks are also collecting. Payments not made by today could be subject to a 5% late fee, but don't let it go past 30 days; the rate increases to 10%.

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