PEORIA — Tax bills arriving soon for property owners in Peoria County will have a new look, but some other, non-cosmetic changes being made by the county treasurer's office promise to save taxpayers some money.
The office, which is using a new, outside vendor this year, will be able to save thousands of dollars thanks to that vendor's ability to insert bills for multiple parcels owned by the same person or company into the same envelope, Treasurer Nicole Demetreas said.
That's an ability the previous company contracted to fold, insert and mail the bills didn't have, she said. It means that rather than sending out 82,714 individual tax bills — several hundred individual envelopes to a company like Ameren Illinois, for instance — the office is now only sending out 61,403.
Some, Demetreas said, will have higher postage if, with a company like Ameren, they're getting a few hundred. But other people or companies that have a handful of parcels won't, and that — along with using fewer envelopes — will result in savings she said should run into the thousands of dollars on the $31,000 or so the office spent on postage last year.
That vendor will also handle other work the county used to, meaning officials there won't have to spend staff time printing out the bills in the IT department, nor will they have to replace any of the specialized printers costing $5,000 apiece that are used for the work, Demetreas said.
Under the old method, "the print job ... was about a two-day process" using one or two IT employees during that time, she said.
Supervisor of Assessments Dave Ryan told members of the county's Ways and Means Committee last week that his office expected to also use that new vendor.
Demetreas also said that in future years she hopes to reduce costs further by offering property owners the option to receive their bills by email rather than postal mail. She said that for any people who elect to do so, her office would set up procedures to ensure a bill is mailed if an emailed copy was bounced back twice.
"Somehow, we will always get a bill to you," she said.
Those property tax bills will be due June 4 and Sept. 4 in Peoria County this year.
Other area counties have also begun to send out bills to their residents.