Tax assessor website updated, more user friendly
by Jack Criss
The Bolivar Bullet
When it comes to the necessity of paying fees, renewing tags and collecting taxes, newly elected Assessor/Collector Will Hooker wanted people to spend more time online than in line during the COVID pandemic. Towards that end, the county’s website www.co.bolivar.ms.us added new links and provided new updates to give citizens greater convenience and peace of mind during this challenging year.
“We now offer a litany of services on our website, from boat registration to GIS maps,” said Hooker. “The issue came up frequently during my campaign earlier even before I was elected in November of last year, before the pandemic hit, when I heard from business owners and the general public that they wanted to see upgrades on the site and have more flexibility and convenience when it came to paying fees, taxes and accessing other services. COVID only made the need for these upgrades more paramount. Of course, we’re still open at the county courthouse and can serve people, but we’re limited as to the number of people who can come in at one time and dealing with all of the restrictions in place with the virus. But, we’re glad now to be able to provide our citizens the options that best fits their needs and particular situation.”
The upgrades to the site were made through software additions and required no extra funding, said Hooker. “We just had to modify some existing things and make some internal changes but none of those required any additional costs to the county. And, of course, all online payments are completely secure.”
Hooker said the response to the website changes have been favorable so far.
“Nobody could have predicted this pandemic or how bad it has been,” said Hooker. “So, we look at the website changes, and the timing of our making them, as a true Godsend. And, you have to remember that people can go online 24 days, seven days a week and take care of any business that they need to; this eliminates worrying about taking off work to go to the courthouse, standing in line, possibly being exposed to the virus, and so forth. It provides peace of mind at any time of the day in the comfort of folks’ own homes. And, all important documents and deeds are online, too, including land sales, and that’s been a huge and helpful bonus to so many of our citizens.”
Hooker also wanted another new change made known to Bolivar County residents.
“The tax notices have been modified to improve readability, transparency and provide more informative information for the citizens,” said Hooker. “Citizens should be aware that the tax notices are no longer on an open post card format–they will be received in an enclosed double window envelope for confidentiality. On the outside of the envelope in bold it will say ‘IMPORTANT TAX INFORMATION ENCLOSED.’ The notices themselves have been modified. Now the notices are color coded–dark blue for real property, orange for personal property and green for manufactured/mobile homes.”
Does Will Hooker himself use the online service?
“Of course!” he laughed. “As a matter of fact, I was the very first one to use it during our testing period and will continue to do so.”
Just go to “Online Services” at www.co.bolivar.ms.us to see and use the new and convenient features or check out the Facebook page which is linked on the website.