Press Release 5

From: Joy Ballard, Saline County Collector
Date: August 26, 2015
Phone: 501-303-5620
Email: joy.ballard@salinecollector.org

1882 tax record book now on display at History Society.

The Saline County History & Heritage Society is an undiscovered gem for the citizens of Saline County. Located at 123 North Market Street in Benton, the volunteers that work there are preserving our history. Amazing old photographs line the walls of the historic Stewart building that Judge Lanny Fite leased to the SCHHS back in the early 2000s. They started with very little and now have a vast collection of 100+ year old records. Joy Ballard, Saline County Collector, has always been interested in history, family genealogy, and historic records. When elected to tax collector, she saw the need to gather all of Saline County’s tax books and securely store them in the Annex building. She also started digital scanning of all tax records as an added backup in case of fire or other loss. The collector’s office has scanned tax records from 1950 through current year. There are still __ years of records that need to be scanned. Many of the older tax books are in very poor condition – loose or torn pages, stains, watermarks, etc. The collector’s office is in process of restoring all of the tax books that are salvageable. Keeping the books in good condition is critical to the historical record of our County. Ballard met with the Board of the SCHHS yesterday and offered for display an 1882 tax book to SCHHS for 60 days. She will set up a podium and a small display for citizens to search the tax records for genealogy purposes. Whether or not you know anyone listed in the book, just looking at the penmanship and reading the documentation is interesting. It describes in some detail, how many mule and horses (their color), carriages, bales of cotton, sheep, and acres of property that was owned by an individual. Even though Saline County was established in 1835 our oldest book in storage is only 1882 and it’s in fair condition. By law the County Clerk stores the County Tax Collector’s books. County Clerk Doug Curtis has done a remarkable job of organizing and securing the tax records. They are neatly stored on shelving and are in proper numerical order. It’s so wonderful to walk into the storage room and be able to easily find any needed book. They are a county treasure. The Saline County History and Heritage Society, Inc., was formed in 1986, with the objective of preserving the history of Saline County, Arkansas and her families. At the time of the founding of the SCHHS, there was virtually nothing in print on Saline County, although the county is one of the oldest in the state, having been formed from Pulaski County in 1835 – even before Arkansas became a state in 1836. Saline County is one of the small number of counties with county records virtually intact; there have been no courthouse fires, although losses of records have occurred over the years through neglect. I’d like to thank all of the dedicated and tireless volunteers at the Saline County History and Heritage Society, including: President Steve Perdue Immediate Past President Tom Blackburn First Vice President Shirley Coppock Second Vice President Wilson and Virginia Duvall Secretary Virginia White Treasurer George M. Akins Board Members Marlo B. Krueger, Regina Burks, and Robert Edwards Archivist, Book Sales, Library Director Pauline Brown & Carolyn Wise Webmaster Eddie G. Landreth If you have any photos, stories, or general information that you would like to share with one of our members, please email us at info@schhs.us.



Press Release 4

From: Joy Ballard, Saline County Collector
Date: July 17, 2015
Phone: 501-303-5620
Email: joy.ballard@salinecollector.org

Emails are such a blessing for the taxpayer.

On Friday, July 17, I partnered with Information Network of Arkansas “INA” and sent an email to 28,000 Saline County taxpayers to remind them that they had 88 days to pay their 2014 taxes without a 10% penalty.

This partnership is cost-free to the collector’s office and the county. Years ago, we would have mailed 68,000 postcards.

The content of the email was short and simple:

ONLY 88 DAYS LEFT

A Friendly Reminder to Saline County Property Owners:

  • Taxes are due on October 15.
  • Tax statements were mailed March 1. If you did not receive a statement, please contact us and we will email you another.
  • Current taxes may be paid in installments.
  • Automatic drafts may be set up with your bank.
  • Payments accepted online. Visit www.salinecollector.ar.gov and click on Pay Taxes (an approximate 3% portal fee will apply).
  • Need to search tax records? Go to www.salinecollector.ar.gov and click on Free Public Search.
  • Need help with any issue; contact the tax collector’s office by postal mail, email, phone, or in person. All contact information is at www.salinecollector.ar.gov/contact.html.

Tax Collector Joy Ballard said, “I was expecting some increase in activity with phone calls and payments, but I wasn’t expecting it so quickly. The emails arrived in the taxpayer’s inbox at 11:12 and at noon I had 54 emails in my inbox asking for statements and the phones didn’t stop ringing until we closed for the day. Our weekend electronic tax payments went from 16 the weekend before to 99. The trend continued on Monday.”

With all the bad news in the media of late regarding some of the Arkansas Counties and their financial woes, it’s good to know Saline County’s tax revenues continue to increase due to population growth and development. According to the 2000 census, our population was approximately 83,000 and currently it is estimated at 109,000.

We can thank our school administrators, teachers, city officials, county officials, civic leaders and our amazing community of wonderful people for this growth and prosperity. On a 2014 to 2015 year-to-date comparison, our ad valorem tax revenues are up from $37,666,662 to $39,602,872. That’s an increase of $1,936,210. This is indicative of a vibrant and growing community.

Call us anytime (501.303.5620) you have a question on concern about your personal or property taxes. We are here to serve and assist you.

E-mail: info@salinecollector.ar.gov



Press Release 3

From: Joy Ballard, Saline County Collector
Date: February 19, 2014
Phone: 501-303-5620
Email: joy.ballard@salinecollector.org

Taxpayers can help save their tax dollars - Saline County E-statements.

All the county collector offices in the State of Arkansas are statutory, regulated by State laws passed by our legislature. Joy Ballard, Saline County Collector said, “We don’t choose what we can and can’t do; we have to follow the State laws.” For the last hundred years counties have mailed tax statements annually to property owners. Last year, Saline County mail approximately 68,000 tax statements at $.55 per piece of mail. Finally collectors have an option to offer the tax payer a way to save $43,000 of their hard earned tax dollars.”

Ballard said she only knows of two counties that are providing this option and Saline is one of them. “I think some of the counties are waiting to see how successful this is before they test the waters. Any time you make a change or add a new procedure to a multimillion dollar process you run the risk of something going wrong. But how are we going to move ahead if we don’t implement new ideas and processes?”

Saline County has been using electronic reminders and emailing receipts for several years, but we didn’t have the authority to process and email electronic-statements (E-statements). A new law was passed last year, with the help of Representative Andy Mayberry, allowing tax payers the option to “Go Paperless.” The law provides the county collector with the ability to establish an electronic registry allowing taxpayers to voluntarily register their personal email address authorizing tax statements to be sent electronically using the email address provided by the taxpayer.

According to Ballard, the annual postage budget in the collector’s office is $43,000, paper and printing runs around $10,000. Presently we have 3,500 tax payers who have chosen to sign up for e-statements. “All we need from the tax payer is a request for e-statements and we will add them to our Paperless process.”

Just like regular mail, we must have a correct email address. In the event the taxpayer’s information changes and the electronic attempt to notify is returned, it is the taxpayer’s obligation to furnish the correct e-mail for our records.

We have accumulated 35,000 taxpayer e-mail addresses, but each has to choose whether they want their statement sent electronically or paper mail. It’s so costly to send statements, delinquent statements and certified land reminder statements when an e-mail can provide the same statement at a fraction of the cost or, in this case, no cost at all. Ballard said, “If we were going to lessen the cost of our postage budget, we didn’t need to increase any additional cost for e-statements. I contacted Information Network of Arkansas (INA). We discussed the new electronic process. INA currently processes all our on-line payments with credit/debit cards and e-checks. They agreed to send our statements electronically at no charge to Saline County. If we had needed new servers, more bandwidth, or new software, it would have defeated my purpose which is to lower cost and provide more diverse service.

On or around March 4th you will receive your paper statement in the mail. If you have requested e-statements, you will receive only an electronic statement in your email inbox.

Call us anytime (501.303.5620) you have a question on concern about your personal or property taxes. We are here to serve and assist you.

E-mail: info@salinecollector.ar.gov



Press Release 2

From: Joy Ballard, Saline County Collector
Date: February 1, 2012
Phone: 501-303-5620
Email: joy.ballard@salinecollector.org

Saline County Collector provides real-time tax information.

Have you ever needed real or personal tax information. Previously, your option was a call or visit to the collector's office or a twice yearly listing in the newspaper.

As of January 2012, the collector's office is now providing free access to real-time current and delinquent tax information.

Simply visit www.salinecollector.ar.gov, and click on the "Free Public Search of Real Estate & Personal Tax Records."  Then follow the links to tax record data.

Use the search engine to search by many different criteria. You have a choice of up to 10 different fields to narrow your search.

If you are a realtor, work at a title or abstract company, or just want to know how much the taxes are on a house you own or want to buy, it's there for you.

You can also access complete county-wide real and personal delinquent tax data in PDF and XLSX files which are updated monthly at www.salinecollector.ar.gov/delinquent.html.  These files are sorted alphabetically by taxpayer name.

Please let us know if you have suggestions how we can improve our office or web site.

Email:  info@salinecollector.ar.gov



Press Release 1

From: Joy Ballard, Saline County Collector
Date: December 8, 2011
Phone: 501-303-5620
Email: joy.ballard@salinecollector.org

The Saline County Collector rolls out a new web site.

At no cost to the county, Saline County Collector Joy Ballard is announcing a new web site with in-depth information concerning Saline County taxes. At www.salinecollector.ar.gov, you will be able to find the answer to any question you may have regarding personal and real estate taxes in our county.

Saline County has a really great web site, but the design and budget for its maintenance would not permit all of the information I felt needed to be readily available to the taxpayers. You can now find Veteran's Affairs exemptions, homestead tax credit links, millage rates, tax allocation charts, tax statutes, office staff information, tax payment directions (in person, online, by postal mail), press releases, answers to frequently asked questions, contact information and delinquent taxpayer lists.

There are several changes each year in the laws that apply to tax collections and we need an avenue to get that information out quickly.

There will be a delinquent taxpayer list on the web site year round. It will be updated monthly, so when you pay your delinquent taxes, your name will be removed when the files are updated.

For your convenience, you may pay online with an e-check, debit card or credit card. The links for this service are prominent. Keep in mind that there is a portal fee for use of online payment services that is approximately 3%.

If you have suggestions how we can make it better, please let us know.

E-mail: info@salinecollector.ar.gov