Franklinton using needed tools in its property tax collection

Published 4:26 pm Thursday, January 23, 2014

Franklinton has moved to a new system to aid in the collection of delinquent property taxes, town attorney Ellen Creel reports.

She said residents have a certain amount of time to pay their property taxes. Bills were mailed the first week of December, and taxes are due Jan. 31.

“After that point they’re delinquent, and we have to begin our collection efforts,” she said.

Statutory requirements state that the town must move forward with a property tax sale at a certain point. She said this is a last resort when taxes remain unpaid.

Beginning this year, Creel said, property tax sales are being outsourced to a Louisiana company called Archon Information Systems, which specializes in providing comprehensive delinquent property tax collection products and services.

She said the company is used across the state at the parish and municipally levels, in large cities and small towns alike.

The tax program was tailored to Franklinton’s exact needs, and the company was responsive and good to work with, Creel said.

Additionally, Creel said Franklinton is ahead of the curve in pursuing Archon’s services. Recently, the Louisiana Municipal Association recommended Archon across the state, she said.

For in-house software needs such as processing money, the town is doing business locally by working with Dempsey Parden’s company.

Parden, a parish resident, is working with Capriece Dawson, assistant utility clerk and tax collector, to make sure the money collected is properly accounted for and that all the paperwork matches up, Creel said.

The software used for that purpose interfaces with Archon’s program, Creel said.

To this point, the Administrative Department staff has been completing all paperwork related to property taxes by hand, including writing delinquent tax notices and payment reminders.

With today’s available technology, there is no need for those processes to be completed by hand, Creel said. Now, it is all computerized in Franklinton.

“I think it’s going to make the workload much easier, and it’s going to be statutorily compliant,” she said. “We’re proud of the progress that we’ve made and the companies we’re doing business with.”

In addition to ensuring quality and statutory compliance, the new systems will also save the town money, Creel said.

Outsourcing costs will be reduced from last year, and administrative man-hours that would have gone into processing property tax paperwork will be saved, she said.