Rock Falls Goes After Late Payment Customers

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Some people in Rock Falls might notice their income tax return is little smaller than what they planned. That’s because anyone who’s overdue on a utility bill is going to have to cough up some cash whether they like it or not.

The city’s debt has been piling up for seven years. Most of the late payments are six months old. So far Rock Falls has turned in 1,000 accounts which equals to $290,000 dollars that hasn’t been paid.

"We would be jumping for joy if we could recover a third of that,” says Rock Falls City Administrator, Robbin Blackert.

She says they started the program last Thursday and have already recovered $400 dollars.

"Right now is a really good time because a lot of people are starting to file tax returns and that money will pop up in the system and show if they owe us money,” says Blackert.

Lottery winnings and state paychecks are also other ways the city can get owed money. To use the program costs the city nothing, which is saves tax payers money. Before the program the city went through a private collection agency that charged a third for what money they recovered.

"I just felt like we would be better Stuarts of the tax payers’ money here in rock falls if we tried a program that the tax payers weren't losing money on,” says Blackert.

She hopes the people will be on time with their payments now because of the program.

Right now the city is currently looking at changing the past-due payment timeline to 60 to 90 days late before customers will be turned into collectors. Right now the minimum is six months.