Horry County residents will no longer have to worry about sending tax payments to North Carolina.
After years of complaints about lost or damaged checks, the Horry County Treasurer’s Office recently reached an agreement with Conway National Bank (CNB) to process vehicle and residential tax payments in Conway.
“They’re as local as you can get,” said Horry County Treasurer Angie Jones, who made changing the mail processing system a priority after taking office in 2017. “The local [element] was the big deal … We’ve had so many problems. We’ve had so many issues with missing checks, lost checks.”
Most people pay their taxes at the treasurer’s office, but some prefer to mail in their payments. For about a decade, the county has used a North Carolina center for its bank processing. That meant the nearly 210,000 tax notices paid via mail — about 25 percent of the treasurer’s office billings — were sent to a facility in Charlotte.
The process had long frustrated some taxpayers who didn’t like sending their payments out of state and who sometimes found that, for various reasons, the payments weren’t processed correctly.
In one instance, some checks were accidentally sliced in two. Jones said they were then mailed back to Conway in sealed plastic bags for the treasurer’s office to handle. Rerouting the “trouble” mail, as Jones calls it, cost the county tens of thousands of dollars in fees each year.
Under the new agreement with Conway National Bank, tax bills will be sent to the treasurer’s office P.O. Box in Conway. CNB staff will check that box four to five times each day, collect the mail and process the payments. Jones said CNB has agreed that, except for the busiest parts of the tax season, bank staff will deliver any “trouble” mail directly to the treasurer’s office for processing, rather than mail it and charge additional fees.
“We’re going to save tons of money,” she said.
CNB was one of five banks to bid on the county’s service contract and was the only one to offer in-town processing, Jones said. She expects the new program will be in place before July 1.
“We’re super excited to partner [with CNB],” she said. “That’s what it is — a partnership.”
County council members praised the new arrangement, saying it’s another step in modernizing the treasurer’s office and bringing constituent service closer to home.
“It’s a really good job to have this [lock] box with a local bank,” Horry County Council Chairman Johnny Gardner said. “The treasurer’s office is in good shape.”
CNB President Jennings Duncan also expressed optimism about the new program, noting that the bank has maintained strong ties with county government throughout CNB’s 116-year history.
“This is another good opportunity to serve the financial needs of our growing community,” he said. “We’ve always had a great relationship with the county.”