The Tehama County Courthouse extension is shown. (DN file)
RED BLUFF – The Tehama County Treasurer and Tax Collector recently received approval to set certain fees to engage the services of an outside collection agency and assist the Tax Collector’s office in collecting arrears.
Tax Collector Parker Hunt gave the county an example of how this will work; If the district turns over a $1,000 4 year old, defaulting, unsecured business valuation to the collections agency, the total amount to be collected by the collections agency would be $1,250. The proposed fee will be added to any debt placed with the agency.
Hunt said the interesting thing is that the agency could take up to 25 percent and bargain into the larger bill. He was told they were negotiating down to secure payment. State codes charge 1.5 percent interest per month, which is 18 percent per year.
“After 15 months, they’re already at 25 percent,” Hunt said. “So I’m hoping that over the last 10 years our main collection has become our liens and we can renew it twice.”
At the February 28 Tehama County Board of Supervisors meeting, the board considered passing an ordinance that would allow for the assessment of fees.
Supervisor Candy Carlson asked if this had only been handed over to the collection agency after a four-year delay.
Hunt replied it might be sooner, but he didn’t want to outsource his office’s collections entirely. He continued by saying the office would conduct a pilot run and pick a year or select taxpayers over a certain dollar amount.
Carlson also expressed concern about the outsourcing, given the county’s success in working with residents to collect taxes. Red Bluff Council Member JR Gonzales was at the meeting and expressed similar concerns about outsourcing.
“It’s entirely up to me what I send, and most importantly, we’re not selling the debt to them,” Hunt said. “All they do is act as an agent on our behalf and the main goal is to skip tracing where they can really locate and determine that these taxpayers aren’t just responding to our communications.”
Regulators unanimously approved the passage of the ordinance that establishes certain fees charged by the Treasurer Tax Collection Office.
According to district staff, the delinquent collection agency fee would go into effect on April 1.