Weatherford Democrat

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November 13, 2013

‘Taxing the tax’?

Officials reviewing fees county charges people using credit, debit cards

By JUDY SHERIDAN

After purchasing a new car, Precinct 4 Commissioner Dusty Renfro set to work reducing the amount Parker County residents pay the county when they use credit cards for county transactions.

He first broached the subject during budget discussions, when he told the court he went back for his checkbook when an auto registration clerk told him how much extra he would pay for using plastic.

“I turned right around and went home,” he said.

Renfro picked the topic up again Tuesday, saying he had received “several complaints” from county residents. He shared a letter from one constituent.

The letter stated that the writer’s daughter, who had purchased a new vehicle, didn’t have enough cash to pay for a title transfer at the Willow Park auto registration office and was charged almost 7 percent to pay with her credit union check card.

“I am very well aware that government agencies are permitted to pass along the credit card fees to the consumer,” the unhappy constituent wrote. “I would be very surprised if the credit card fees are this high. The standard is approximately 2 percent. That would indicate that not only is Parker County passing along a credit card fee, but is making revenue on top of that.

“Or, to my conservative way of thinking, Parker County is taxing the tax.”

In his opinion, Renfro said, the county just needs to cover the costs. He said other commissioners feel the same and just need to hear the specifics before taking a vote. 

Judge Mark Riley said the system “shouldn’t be that way,” and asked treasurer Jenny Barnwell to visit with tax assessor-collector Marjorie King to come up with a recommendation for commissioners at the next meeting.

County Attorney John Forrest remarked that everyone who attempts to make a credit card transaction is informed of the payment increase.

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