Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Decatur presents tips for maximizing revenues at national conference

Each attorney practicing law in Decatur is responsible for paying a $425 annual occupation tax to the City. Historically, our collection rate for this group has been low, and in 2012 we began taking steps to improve collections.

Over a one year period we were able to boost tax compliance for this group from 69 percent up to an 86 percent. We used performance measurements to identify the opportunity for growth and implemented process improvements to get there. After that experience we described our efforts in a case study submitted to the Alliance for Innovation, and the topic was selected for presentation during their Transforming Local Government 2014 conference in Denver, Colorado.

I had the pleasure of making the presentation in April along with communications chief Linda Harris, city manager Peggy Merriss, and revenue supervisor Shaun Shabazz. After presenting our experiences Linda conducted an interactive session called “The Dog Ate My Tax Bill” to help attendees brainstorm different ways to overcome nonpayment of taxes or other revenues.

It was a lot of fun, and as Peggy noted afterward, those who attended our session were very engaged. Thanks to her, Linda, Shaun, our city attorney Bryan Downs, and the folks at TLG including Brandi Allen who all helped make it a success!

Our case study doesn’t seem to be available yet on the conference archive, but here’s the PowerPoint I presented. This is useful information for local governments and businesses that are trying to collect on difficult accounts:

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