By Marie McCain
The Cincinnati Enquirer
BATAVIA - Clermont County residents soon will be able to pay their county taxes and service fees via the Internet using a credit card.
Commissioners on Tuesday approved a joint proposal from the county treasurer and the county office of technology, communications and security that will put the system in place by March 31.
Deputy Treasurer Connie Bare told commissioners that her office has looked for three years for a way to make the bill-paying process more convenient for residents.
Residents who use the service to pay property taxes or sewer and water fees will be charged a convenience fee that will be based on the amount of the total bill, Bare said. She said the service will be accessible via the county's Web site, co.clermont.oh.us.
The convenience fee will be paid to the service provider, Official Payments Corp., officials said.
Also during Tuesday's board meeting, commissioners approved a 10-year tax abatement agreement that will prompt Sharonville-based United Mercantile Corp., a franchising parent company for home repair and house inspection services, to relocate to Milford.
Curt Paddock, director of planning and economic development, said the agreement is part of the county's rural enterprise zone program. It will bring about 37 jobs to Milford and Clermont County.
Chris Smith, vice president of development for the Clermont County Chamber of Commerce, said that while 37 full-time jobs might not seem like a lot, nevertheless they will bring significant benefits to the county.
The company will bring with it 30 existing employees and will offer seven new positions.
Its annual payroll is about $1.2 million.
"Milford has a 1 percent earnings tax, so that's $12,000 a year in immediate income to Milford. ... The fact that this is a franchise headquarters that brings in people from all over the country to train will increase ... the revenue from bed taxes by the hotel room nights generated by this company," Smith said.
Another company, Chamber Ltd., seeks to build a 12,745-square-foot office complex along Chamber Drive in Milford, and United Mercantile will occupy the property, officials said.
Both corporations plan to invest about $1.4 million in the site, with about $1.2 million of that eligible for exemption, officials said.
Construction is expected to begin by April, with the abatement agreement lasting from 2004 until 2014.
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