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Building Long-Term Sustainability for the Village of Roselle

From its origins in the 1830s, Roselle has grown from being a farming center for corn and flax to become a flourishing residential community with a population of almost 23,000, according to US Census estimates. Economic development is a high priority for the Village as it works to establish a long-term sustainability plan, and the Village Board recognizes the importance of ensuring that Roselle receives every penny due from taxes and franchise fees as a means to survive the economic downturn and fulfill its duty of accountability to residents.

"Economic development involves maximizing our tax base and creating an inviting environment for new and existing businesses."

Mayor Gayle Smolinski, 2012 State of the Village Address

The Village of Roselle remains committed to providing a high level of community services and infrastructure, such as street improvements, updating technology, and major storm water repairs. But it also understands that revenue enhancement is vital to offset operational fund deficits that can otherwise result in higher taxes being levied on residents and businesses.

"That is the balance we strive to obtain: providing our core services plus making the improvements to our infrastructure. It is a delicate balancing act."

Mayor Gayle Smolinski, 2012 State of the Village Address

Roselle's Challenge: to Find and Stop Hidden "Revenue Leaks"

In common with many municipalities in rural areas, the Village of Roselle has experienced growth over time as new parcels of land have been annexed and as new residential and business developments have been established. Village managers were growing suspicious, however, that Roselle's income from taxes and franchise fees were not increasing at a corresponding rate. They realized that innovative measures were required to guard municipal revenues, and engaged Azavar Government Solutions to conduct separate audits of electric, gas, and telecommunications utilities.

"Given the number of annexations that had taken place in our community, we were concerned that we were not receiving all the revenues due to us from utility taxes. Indeed, we had seen a drop in revenue and wanted to know why that was happening."

Mayor Gayle Smolinski, Village of Roselle

 As Azavar Government Solutions only charges municipalities for its services on a contingency fee basis, there was minimal risk to Roselle in the event that our team found no discrepancies. But there was also a significant potential benefit, because the Azavar Government Solutions program ensures accurate computation of taxes and fees in the future, as well as collecting missed income retroactively.

Using proprietary software and specialized data mining techniques, our team of experts worked with utility companies to uncover errors in utility taxpayers' address records. Outsourcing this time-consuming and painstaking task allowed Roselle's officials to meet their duties of fiscal accountability without adding to the burden of day-to-day Village management.

"This kind of audit is an exercise that requires particular skills, something that we don't have on staff. Azavar Government Solutions provides this expertise, and they were prepared to take on Commonwealth Edison – a pretty big company – on our behalf!"

Mayor Gayle Smolinski, Village of Roselle

 Azavar Government Solutions' Findings Return Over $10,000 Per Year to Roselle

The Azavar Government Solutions team uncovered several instances in which taxable addresses had been miscoded, and by correcting these errors we returned $10,600 per year to the Village. As well as working with the relevant utility companies to negotiate settlement of past due revenues, these corrections also enhanced future Village income, and a legal action generated by Azavar Government Solutions resulted in an important legal precedent being set for other Illinois municipalities facing similar revenue shortfalls.

"In my view, it is incumbent on any municipality that has a utility tax to make sure that the utility companies know that we are keeping an eye on them. Azavar has been a leader in the quest to make sure that municipalities are getting their fair share and that utility companies are fulfilling their obligations in collecting these taxes."

 Mayor Gayle Smolinski, Village of Roselle

The Village of Roselle has taken major steps to tackle the challenges and financial limitations facing their community. The Azavar Government Solutions program uncovered and returned missing fees and taxes amounting to $53,000 over a period of five years – an important contribution to Village efforts to meet its goals for fiscal sustainability and accountability to its residents.

" I would definitely recommend Azavar Government Solutions to any municipality that wishes to ensure that a utility tax is being distributed fairly among all the properties in their community and that they are receiving all the remuneration that their residents are paying."

Mayor Gayle Smolinski, Village of Roselle

On Enhancing Future As Well As Past Revenues

“Our community will continue to benefit in the years to come from the ongoing revenues that were uncovered by Azavar Government Solutions' investigation.” 
— John Thorson, City of Rock Island
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