I am so glad they have taken steps to help their customers

Published 12:00 am Thursday, December 14, 2006

For those who know me, this is not news. But for the others, I am frugal and sometimes I tend to procrastinate. Either one of those by itself isn’t bad, but in tandem they can lead to trouble.

That’s why I am glad to see more and more services being provided for those like me.

Take, for instance, our city taxes.

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I knew they were due. I have known since the day I got the letter from the office of Ron Williams, city treasurer.

But like many of you, when it comes to giving money to the government, I like to wait until the last minute so they can’t use it before then.

And this year was no different.

There’s also the fact that if I took it to city hall myself, I would save 39 cents in postage.

The way I see it, 39 cents isn’t much, but if I ever get to the point in my life where I am 39 cents short of being a millionaire … well, there you go.

So, after dropping off the cable bill (39 more cents saved), I headed over to city hall.

As I walked in the door I was greeted by a most unfriendly sight — a line of several dozen people (and those were just the ones I could see) which snaked down the hall and around the corner.

All of us were there to pay our taxes the day before they were due.

Standing there in line I struck up a conversation with the woman in front of me. I remember commenting that they should have a drop box for this type of situation (bear with me) to make it easier on the taxpayer.

About that time Williams walked around the corner. I thought maybe he was only there to greet the people and encourage them during their wait.

But, low and behold, he started collecting taxes, at least those that were being paid with checks. And that is how I was doing ours.

You can only imagine how pleased I was when he came and took mine, releasing me from indenture and allowing me to go on with my busy day.

And as for that drop box I had talked about earlier … I passed it on the way out of the building en route to my car. I had not seen it going in. But, I’ll know about it next year. Of course I hope I won’t owe any more taxes next year … ha, ha!

My next stop was the Department of Motor Vehicles. Actually, it was my second trip there yesterday. I tried it earlier in the morning only to leave after seeing how long the line was and recalling all of the horror stories I had heard about people going to the DMV and expiring due to old age.

My second trip didn’t look like it was going to be any more enjoyable. As I arrived, I discovered there were fewer available parking spots at that time of day (just after lunch) than there were right after breakfast.

As I exited my car I noticed a van at a drive-up window. I saw on the window that they handled renewing a sticker on a license plate — which is what I was there to do.

Quicker than Santa leaving the roof on Christmas morning, I was back in my car and sitting behind that van. Within a few moments the driver pulled off and I found myself looking inside at a customer service representative.

I double checked all of my documents, made sure I had the check and slid them into the door underneath that window.

Within a few short minutes I had my new decals and registration and was on my way back to the office.

Oh, did I mention I saved yet another 39 cents? That was $1.17 in one day. Less than one more dollar and I can purchase a vinte cup of coffee at Starbucks. Well worth it if you ask me.

Grant is the managing editor of the Suffolk News-Herald. Contact him at doug.grant@suffolknewsherald.com, or 934-9603.