Grounds makes leaps and bounds
Business owners can now file taxes online thanks to Cameron Grounds, director of revenue for the city.
Grounds spearheaded the campaign to allow proprietors to pay sales, lodging and rental taxes electronically.
“As time goes on, more and more companies are asking if we provide that service” Grounds said. “We’ve gotten inquiries from businesses about online payments and it was time to finally switch over. Other cities highly recommend it. It will be a good thing for us.”
He said taxpayers are already required to pay their state taxes through the Alabama Department of Revenue’s website, and this will be an opportunity for them to pay local taxes at the same place. He said the service is voluntary, because there are still some people who wish to file through his department.
He said several other cities in the surrounding areas, Huntsville, Decatur and Hoover, are all using the service.
“Other (revenue officers) highly recommended using it,” Grounds said. “We’re going on what other people have done for years. It will be a good thing for us.”
The fee for using the service is $1.21 for each transaction. The cost to use it would eventually increase when the number of people using the service rises.
His department administers and collects all city-administered taxes such as the sales and use taxes, privilege licenses, gasoline, liquor, lodging and rental taxes.
“We make sure everyone is filing on time and check for delinquencies and make sure everyone that’s doing business has a license,” Grounds said.
He said 5,400 business licenses are issued every year and that number increases by a hundred annually.
The department also works with the finance department to provide estimates to work into the city’s budget.
He said business in Madison is holding up, although sales taxes have come down a bit, but the local sales taxes have held even with a 2 percent growth rate.
Originally from Los Angeles, Grounds moved to Huntsville at age 8. He started working for Madison in 1989 in the revenue department. He has held that position ever since. He lives in Madison with his wife, Brenda. He has two children, Katie, a nurse in Birmingham and Joseph, a sophomore at Auburn University.
“I enjoy working for the city. No two days are exactly the same,” he said.