DACRA Tech is honored to have been the spotlight of the Illinois City/County Management Association (ILCMA) May, 2022 Newsletter.
In the ILCMA DACRA spotlight, Frank Regan discusses the importance of using a collection agency for municipalities to recover debt. We share the article here for the convenience of clients and colleagues who may not have access to the Newsletter.
Using a Collections Agency Makes Sense, Now More Than Ever!
In recent years, more and more tools for the collection of fines for local citations have been removed from municipalities’ means of enforcement.
- Fines for violations are no longer allowed to be reported to credit bureaus
- Driver’s license suspension is no longer an option
- And the Illinois Office of the Comptroller’s (IOC) Local Debt Recovery Program is no longer accepting fines for red light camera violations
The removal of these programs’ resources increases the likelihood of more numerous and egregious violations while also reducing the revenue municipalities count on for funding.
Most municipalities are already stretched thin with staff who do not have the time or expertise to locate violators and convince them to make payment. Collection agencies’ have trained experts who can focus on locating debtors and assist them in resolving the problem while increasing returns and revenue for the municipality. Working with a collection agency, especially one that focuses on the collection of municipal/government debt, removes this time-consuming task from municipal staff’s workload.
Many people with violations that have reached the collection stage remain unaware of their outstanding obligations. This can be due to simple oversight, a false belief that they are not obligated to pay the fine, or they have moved and failed to update their vehicle information with the Secretary of State. Likewise, approximately 50% of people that allow a violation to reach the collection eligibility stage have more than one violation in the collection stage. Collection agencies work with debtors to explain the nature of the obligation and when necessary, provide proof of the violation. This is a time and resource intensive task best handled by people trained and focused exclusively on that task.
Collection agencies and their staff are qualified and well-informed regarding the various federal and state regulations regarding the collection of outstanding debts and fines. This skillset allows for the most effective communication, in turn maximizing returns.
Working with the right government focused collection agency, means the knowledge agents possess regarding federal and state collection laws will support better recovery. In addition to federal and state statues, the right collection agency will be knowledgeable regarding the processes a debt has gone through at the municipal level, prior to being turned over for collection. For example, if your municipality locally adjudicates various violations, the collection agency working to recover unpaid fines will be fully informed and understand the adjudication process and how that process affects the debt, including number of hearings or fine escalation schedules.
Debtors have questions. Working with an agency focused on municipal debt, one that provides additional training beyond traditional debt collection laws, allows those questions to be answered quickly and efficiently. Knowledgeable phone agents recover funds at a higher rate. Less phone calls and a quicker response to inquiries enhances the return for your municipality.
Using a collection agency makes sense, now more than ever. Finding the right assistance for municipal debt recovery can be a challenge. At Municipal Collection Services, a municipal collection agency, we want you to feel comfortable and confident knowing that you are choosing experts who work exclusively in the field of municipal and government collections. We are no ordinary collection agency.
Author: Frank Regan
Frank Regan has over 15 years of experience in the accounts receivable industry and has been the Chief Operating/Collections Officer of Municipal Collection Services (MCS), LLC (formerly Municipal Collections Services, Inc.) since 2011. As a former CPA, as well as a Systems Architect for a Fortune 500 company, he brings a unique skillset in delivering the robust platform and maximum returns generated at MCS. Municipal Collection Services has been helping cities, villages, and counties with municipal debt collection for over 20 years. We work to recover a variety of delinquent debt ranging from red light violations and parking tickets to past due utility bills. Municipal debt collection is our specialty. For more information and collections solutions reach out to Frank at: [email protected]
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