By Nick Vogel
Western Springs village trustees want the state of Illinois to help with its debt collection by withholding tax refunds.
A plan discussed May 7 at the Village Board workshop meeting calls for an intergovernmental agreement giving the Illinois Office of the Comptroller the power to collect tax and non-tax debts owed the village. The state would then send the money to the village.
By its nature, the agreement would call for the village and the state to share information about individuals and village-based corporations subject to collections.
Known as the Local Debt Recovery Program, the agreement would allow the state to withhold money from annual income tax refunds as a way of collecting debt owed to the village. For its part the state would collect a fee.
“Probably 95 percent of the time it will be the state income tax (return) used to pay down the obligation,” said village attorney Michael Jurusik.
A draft version of the agreement pledges information shared about individuals will be used solely in connection with debt collection, and both the state and the village will safeguard the information.
Currently, the village pays its village attorney to collect debts.
“This will save attorney’s fees in those situations where there is a fee owed,” said Village Trustee Deborah Lyons.
Jurusik said the program would benefit the village most when used to collect smaller fees.
“It may, in certain circumstances, serve to be a very efficient way for the village to collect payment such as, you know, water bills,” Jurusik said.
Jurusik said he is waiting to hear more specific details about the fees, but that he believes the fees would be charged to the debtor.
State law allows the comptroller’s office to enter agreements with local governments, school districts and public colleges to help with debt collection.