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More people reaching for plastic to pay county bills

Charge it!

More and more Dakota County residents are using credit cards to pay their county bills. The Dakota Library System, in particular, is showing a dramatic increase in the use of the plastic cards.

In 2008, the use of credit cards to pay for county services, including property taxes, increased significantly from the previous year, according to the community's property taxation and records division.

Dakota County approved a credit card and electronic payment acceptance policy in 2001.

According to the annual report, credit card payments processed in Dakota County totaled $2,362,547, up from the $2,104,587 processed in 2007, and the $1,457,749 in 2006.

By far, the largest amount paid was for property taxes - $1,554,542. In 2007, residents put $1,416,248 in property taxes on their credit cards. In 2006, the figure was $925,251.

More than 1,900 e-check payments were processed in 2007, totaling $4,773,176, a significant increase from $2,938,778 in 2007. In this process, a debit is charged to the customer's bank account. Likewise, the processing costs for the county increased significantly in 2008, reaching $28,288, compared to $22,560 in 2006, and $16,923 in 2005.

The library division began accepting credit cards in January 2007, and processed $6,775 in credit card payments for the year. That number increased sharply to $109,256 in 2008.

Dakota County pays the fees for transactions in community services, which includes adult probation fees, custody evaluation evaluations, detox and foster care; financial services (which includes the pay-to-stay fees in the Law Enforcement Center), medical and booking fees for the sheriff, program fees and other obligations for public health, and highway collections for transportation. In the physical development division, it includes permit and license fees, eco-site transactions, sign or signal damage, and park campground and program registrations.

The taxpayer pays the fees for property tax transactions handled with credit card.