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Evanston aldermen will be asked Monday to approve a staff plan to ask the state to turn over to the city tax refunds and other payments the state owes residents who have failed to pay fines or fees owed the city.

The procedure is authorized under legislation approved the the general assembly and signed by Gov. Quinn last December.

Assistant City Manager Marty Lyons says that, based on a test, the City of Chicago anticipates recovering over $20 million from the program in its first year.

Assuming the same level of results, and adjusting for Evanston’s much smaller population, Evanston might expect to recover aboout $570,000 a year from the effort.

Someone who has money deducted from an anticipated state payment will be given notice of the deduction and have 60 days to appeal.

The City Council Monday is also scheduled to approve an extension of an agreement with Accounttemps for a collection coordinator position at the city through the end of the year.

Lyons says the coordinator works with city staff and third-party collection agencies to  assess outstanding debt levels and monitor collection performance as well as working with the public to negotiate payment of overdue funds.

Lyons says that during a just-concluded four month trial, the collection coordinator managed to recover nearly $50,000 in outstanding debt and the costs to the city for the position were less than $20,000.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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