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The Town of Normal: a Thriving Midwestern Community

The prosperous, largely white-collar Town of Normal lies within two hours' driving distance of Chicago, St. Louis, and Indianapolis. It has seen rapid growth since its foundation in 1854, with a population of 52,497 according to the 2010 US Census.

The Town is home to the main campus of Illinois State University, which, along with State Farm Insurance in nearby Bloomington, employs a large number of its residents. Normal plans to expand tourism, conference venues, and business travel as its train service and station facilities improve, and has been dubbed "EV Town" for its incentives encouraging the adoption of the electric car. Redevelopment in Normal continues to attract young professionals, and the community was recently voted one of the top ten "Best Places for Millennial Job Seekers in the Midwest." 1

Prudent Financial Management and Long-Term Planning for the Town of Normal

The Town of Normal has worked hard to ride out the storm of the Great Recession, the after-effects of which are still being felt across the country. It has been careful to pursue policies of conservative financial management and long-term planning in order to protect funding flexibility for infrastructure and the provision of public services, and to absorb inevitable economic setbacks such as the closure of the town’s Mitsubishi Motors’ plant in 2016.

"We recognize that a strong local economy is the cornerstone of good government."

Chris Koos, Mayor, Town of Normal

Despite financial constraints, the Town has been able to secure stable operating margins and fund balance levels. An important part of its prudent financial strategy has been to monitor its tax and fee income and ensure that taxes are accurately and fairly assessed and collected across the board.

Verifying Tax Income Can Be Like Looking For a Needle in a Haystack

However, Town managers were experiencing a fairly common problem: not only did they have no idea whether those revenues were being accurately assessed and collected, but also they had no way of finding out. There was no evidence to go on, the utility companies appeared unwilling to provide the information they needed, and their own staff lacked the time and technical skills needed to perform an in-house investigation into the matter.

Azavar Government Solutions Performs a Comprehensive Audit

Recognizing that they could not perform a comprehensive analysis on their own, the Town engaged Azavar Government Solutions to conduct their tax revenue audit.

"Their contingency fee structure meant that it was a no-risk proposition for us: we would share any savings or new revenue that we realized, but if nothing was discovered, we would not owe them anything for their services."

Chris Koos, Mayor, Town of Normal

Azavar Government Solutions’ team of experts used specialized software to pore through address records and collect reams of data, and advised Town managers on how to obtain key information from the utility companies. They were able to recover significant past due revenues from the Town’s gas and electricity utility providers, and at the same time were able to verify without charge that its receipts from sales taxes were correct.

As well as recovering unpaid back taxes, Azavar's correction of address issues continue to yield a further $4,903.36 (Ameren) and $218.72 (Nicor) per month in recovered revenues. These gains help to support to the economic stability of the Town, which earned an AAA rating from Fitch ratings in February 2016.

"I highly recommend the services of Azavar Government Solutions as a risk-free means for other municipalities to ensure the complete and equitable collection of taxes and franchise fees."

Chris Koos, Mayor, Town of Normal

References

  1. https://www.nerdwallet.com/blog/mortgages/home-search/best-places-millennial-job-seekers-midwest-2015

Letter from Mayor Chris Koos on file.

On Our Technology Expertise...

“Azavar is the only one that has the specialized software, resources, and knowledge to successfully audit each utility and recover the maximum revenue as they have in Roselle.” 
— Mayor Gayle A. Smolinski, Village of Roselle
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