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More residents turning to plastic to pay bills

For some Dakota County residents, plastic has become the preferred way to make county payments.

Dakota County residents who use the county libraries increasingly use credit cards to pay their fees and fines. In 2009, credit cards were used to make more than $201,000 in payments to the library system, compared with about $109,000 in 2008.

In 2009, the use of credit cards to pay for county services, including property taxes, increased significantly from the previous year, according to the county's property taxation and records division.

Dakota County approved a credit card and electronic payment acceptance policy in 2001 as another way to enhance customer convenience.

According to the 2009 annual report, credit card payments processed in Dakota County totaled $2,479,128, up from the $2,362,547 processed in 2008, and $2,104,587 processed in 2007.

By far, the largest amount paid was for property taxes - $1,468,455, down slightly from 2008's $1,554,542.

More than 2,300 e-check payments were processed in 2009, totaling $7,040,000, up significantly from the $4,773,176 in 2008.

In this process, a debit is charged to the customer's bank account. The processing costs for the county in 2009 were $24,130.

Dakota County pays the fees for transactions in community services, which includes adult probation fees, custody evaluations, detox and foster care; financial services, which include 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 cards.