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Jennifer Watkins Sr. Collection Officer Boise City Collections.

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Presentation on theme: "Jennifer Watkins Sr. Collection Officer Boise City Collections."— Presentation transcript:

1 Jennifer Watkins Sr. Collection Officer Boise City Collections

2 Our History One person office in 1997 Expanded to three staff members that included a fine enforcement officer Currently have one Sr. Collection Officer, 4 Collection Officers, and an administrative position Collect for every City department except Library

3 Our Portfolio By Dollars

4 Our Portfolio By Number of Accounts

5 Our Services Originally funded via indirect charging of clients through General Fund monies Public Works historically largest client so they incurred the bulk of our operating costs August 2008 implemented direct cost of $5 set-up per account plus 15% of monies collected with return at end of fiscal year if surplus ($5 set up fee waived January 2010) True direct billing started October 2010. Departments billed a percentage of operating costs based on dollars collected (dept specific costs passed through directly)

6 Fine Enforcement One collection officer located at the county courthouse to set up fine agreements for misdemeanor cases including restitution and to handle collection activity (calls, letters, warrants) Restitution accounting and payables handled through collection office at City Hall Due to workload, position at courthouse became mostly administrative Fine Enforcement turned over to the Clerk of the Court in June 2009. County has third party agency handling now. Payables for restitution still handled through our administrative position

7 Parking Services

8 Have always handled NSF items for Parking office but not individual tickets Parking had dedicated position to pursue summons and other collection activity for unpaid tickets Cost/Benefit analysis showed summons service not effective Position transferred to Collections office January 2009, unpaid tickets worked from Parking system. All parking tickets where debtor owes more than $70 and tickets over 30 days past due transferred to Collections software in August 2009.

9 Parking Scofflaw Program Scofflaw (tow) implemented in January 2007 Tow eligible if has more than 5 outstanding tickets or owes in excess of $200 915 vehicles towed to date $187,532 collected via scofflaw program

10 Parking Results Significant and immediate impact on tickets that had not had any collection activity for years Average monthly collection rate – 2010: 94.11% – 2011: 91.31% (through March)

11 Public Works – Utilities

12 Un-metered sewer services, trash service mandatory for all residences by city ordinance, billing not linked to water services Have had to overcome objections, physical limitations and basic uneasiness over suspending both sewer and trash services Worked closely with billing office and PW Admin to pass policies and ordinances through Commission and City Council allowing suspension of services Developed streamlined processes with trash contractor, utility maintenance crew and process servers

13 Public Works – Suspensions Commercial trash services easiest to terminate. Service is not mandatory but most business do not want to self haul. Sewer suspensions: – Actual plug had to be designed and engineered first – Policies and ordinances changed to reflect notification, appeal, suspension and reinstatement processes – Gradual shift over the years of PW managing suspension process to having Collections oversee it

14 Sewer Plug Process Improvements Process sped up by having termination letters electronically sent to process server and hand delivered (no longer sent via certified mail), also more effective Significant savings in personnel costs by having process server vs. utility maintenance crew hang door tags Ordinance change now allows for “repeat offenders” to be charged additional penalties Appeal process now has heavier Collections influence, no longer “rubber stamped” hardship Public Works willing to expend additional efforts (i.e. construction cleanouts) for difficult line plugs

15 Sewer Plug Photos

16 Sewer Plug Effectiveness First approval and plug occurred August 2001. Debtor balance over $4,000. Typical shutoff now has balance less than $1,500. Never had an appeal go past PW Director level No negative feedback even during media exposure Only 58 actual suspensions to date with over 920 properties reviewed $932,127 collected via sewer shutoff program

17 Public Works Results Annual # of Accounts Billed Annual $ BilledAvg # of Accounts in Collections/mo Avg $ Amount in Collections/yu Avg Monthly Collection % 1998 66,397$21,971,2433,275$719,17387.6% 2010 95,880$44,742,8037,399$2,460,22381.9%

18 Our Techniques Working closely with Utility Billing staff to be proactive on front end to reduce collection turnover Online payment capability as of August 2008 Increased collection staff; fully staffed as of February 2011 Subscription skiptracing services (Accurint) Increased and streamlined shutoff process Heavier emphasis on referring accounts to Legal (negotiated for additional legal staff dedicated to Collections) Implemented automated messaging (Televox) January 2010 for PW, July 2010 for Parking Outsourced “bad debt” to third party agency October 2010

19 Looking Ahead Increasing Televox usage Desktop credit card processing Increased utilization of third party agency Higher volume turned over to Legal Possible outsourcing of sewer shutoff New Enterprise Resource Planning system will allow easier tracking of debt owed Citywide Implementation of Virtual Collector

20 Appendix

21 Sewer Plug Account referred for suspension by Collections Warning letter sent to debtor Approved for shutoff? Alternate collection action No Sewer Line Check Ok? Yes No Termination Letter to debtor via hand delivery (cc to property owner) Yes Appeal? Appeal Process Yes Proceed with Termination Response from Debtor? No Back to Collections for Payment arrangements Yes Hardship? Yes Customer fails to make sufficient arrangements or subsequently breaks arrangements Appeal denied, Debtor fails to make arrangements No

22 Questions?

23 Contact Boise City Collections P.O. Box 500 Boise, ID 83701 (208) 384-3785 Jennifer Watkins

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