Village Hire Collection Agency – Forest Park Review

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After operating without a debt collection agency for over a year, Forest Park Village Council voted 5-0 on June 10 to hire Municipal Collection Services Inc. (MCSI) of Palos Heights to collect ticket fees late and other unpaid fines.

In addition to overdue tickets, MCSI will collect unpaid parking tickets, vehicle sticker quotes, overdue utility billing accounts, order violation fines and other miscellaneous debts.

Under the three-year contract, MCSI will receive a percentage of any overdue fines or fees the company collects.

MCSI was one of four businesses considered by the village, according to village administrator Tim Gillian. Armor Systems Corp., ICS Collection Service Inc. and Sonnenschein Financial Services were also considered.

Gillian explained that the village was already using MCSI for similar services in police and building services, which he called a “big plus” in decision-making, but noted that MCSI’s proposal also offered the benefits. lowest rates. For the police department, MCSI provides software for the vehicle sticker and parking processes and, for the building department, for permits and general record keeping, according to Gillian.

He also noted that MCSI previously provided debt collection services for Forest Park, but the relationship between the company and the village predates his tenure.

Mayor Rory Hoskins also cited MCSI’s “unique understanding of Forest Park systems” as a factor in decision making.

“It’s important for a village like ours to have a collection agency,” he explains. “We are leaving money on the table.”

When asked if he could estimate how much money was left on the table, Hoskins replied, “It’s hard to say. Probably hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Commissioners Ryan Nero thanked village council and Gillian for “acting quickly” on the collection agency contract.

“I know this is something that has been discussed not only throughout the campaign process, but certainly over the past year,” said Nero, who did not physically attend the meeting but has participated by phone.

“Let’s get started,” said Commissioner Dan Novak.

The village has not had a collection agency since early 2018, when it ended its relationship with Genesis Business Group. The company served as the village collection agency for at least five years.

Gillian said in January that the village had “split off” from Genesis Business Group because village officials “just didn’t think they were providing us with the service we needed.”

In February, Commissioner Joseph Byrnes estimated that the village had traffic tickets since October 2017 that he had not received.

The case came to light in January during a presentation by Crowe Horwath, the village listeners, to the village council. According to the fiscal year 2018 audit, fine revenue was budgeted at $ 1,330,000, but actual revenue was $ 972,811.

Leticia Olmsted, village finance manager, then cited the ongoing shift to a new collection agency as a contributing factor to the shortfall. The 2018 financial year runs from May 1, 2017 to April 30, 2018.

In addition, the village reportedly missed a second opportunity to collect late ticket fees.

When overdue tickets are not collected, the village should alert the Illinois Comptroller’s Office to participate in the Comptroller’s Local Debt Collection Program, which deducts unpaid municipal fines from income tax refunds. of State.

The village has reportedly missed the deadline to report violators to the state for the past two years.

Gillian said the amounts collected varied each year, but ranged between $ 100,000 and $ 200,000.

In addition to collecting fees for late tickets and other late fines, Hoskins said MCSI will also take care of the backlog.


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