Town officials in Manchester, Conn. have hired a collection agency to pursue people who are delinquent on their motor vehicle taxes.

TaxServ will collect taxes that are more than four years overdue. Town officials say that while Manchester has a strong tax collection rate, delinquent motor vehicle bills often have proven much more difficult to collect, especially if the vehicles are taken out of the state, said John Rainaldi, Manchester's director of assessment and collection. 

TaxServ is based in McLean, Va. and has offices in Florida and Hartford, Conn.

Unpaid vehicle taxes that were due in 2011 total roughly $6 million, including interest. Hiring the collection agency should not cost taxpayers money because the fees the company expects to earn will be added to the bills they collect. Rainaldi added that almost all of the delinquent taxes are owed by people who have moved and left the state.

TaxServ does collection work for several other Connecticut municipalities - including Hartford, Waterbury, Danbury, Canton and Durham. According to the 2010 Census, Manchester has approximately 58,000 residents. Manchester had used a different collection agency in the past but that contract ended several years ago. Town leaders at that time chose not to pursue a new agreement because of the struggling economy. Municipalities throughout the U.S. increasingly are turning to third-party agencies to collect outstanding fees, fines and accounts. In April, Sean Sander, director of Revenue and Recovery, County of San Diego, Calif., was the featured speaker for a best practices in government collections Web seminar hosted by Collections & Credit Risk and sponsored by FICO. The event focused on the unique challenges faced by state, county and municipal governments when working to resolve constituents’ delinquencies. Sander discussed how governments can navigate limited resources and shifting mandates and still improve efficiencies.  The County of San Diego is considered one of the most award-winning and innovative government agencies in the U.S. and is the nation's fifth-most populous county, with more than three million residents. 

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