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Local

Dixon hires audit firm to look for untapped revenue

DIXON – The city hired a Chicago audit firm to see whether it’s missing out on any untapped revenue from taxpayers who have fallen through the cracks.

The City Council approved a contract with Azavar Audit Solutions Inc., a company specializing in finding collection errors and lost money for local governments, the only one of its kind in Illinois.

Azavar uses software to compare service addresses within city limits to those recorded by utility companies like electric, gas, phone and internet providers that send tax money to the city.

“Dixon’s revenues could be increased by collecting monies from addresses not properly recognized in the past,” Mayor Li Arellano Jr. said.

Basically, the company will look for taxes the city should be collecting but isn’t, Finance Director Paula Meyer said.

Meyer checked with a couple of communities that used the service, and the results are mixed – one didn’t see much regained revenue but another had “great luck” with it.

There’s no cost to having Azavar compile an audit, but it will receive 40 percent of discovered revenue, if any, for the next 3 years. After that, the city will collect 100 percent.

Other communities that have used the service include Rockford, which found a net savings of $115,000 per year with utility bills, as well as several cities and villages in northern Illinois and the collar counties.

From 2006 to 2011, the company found more than $12 million in refunds, credits, savings and future revenues across more than 100 municipalities ranging in population from 500 to 700,000 people.

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