Athens Review, Athens, Texas

December 12, 2012

Firm pitches collection services to county

Rich Flowers
The Athens Review

ATHENS — An Austin-based firm on Tuesday brought the Henderson County Commissioners Court a proposal for a property tax debt collection service that could bring an increase in revenue.

The court took no action on the proposal, but will study the information.

A spokesperson for the law firm of Linebarger Goggan Blair and Sampson LLP, Jim Lambeth, told the court the company already serves seven Henderson County school districts. He said the company can’t guarantee the county will see more revenue due to the service, but other counties have experienced sizable gains.

Lambeth said Van Zandt County, which recently became a client, saw an increase of 2.19 percent in collections during the first full year of service. A similar result in Henderson County could result in an increase of more than $200,000.

Linebarger Grogan now does business with more than half of the counties in the state, Lambeth said. The company has had Dallas County as a client for 28 years and during that period has collected more than $539 million.  Kaufman, Ellis, Navarro and Smith counties also contract for the service.

Lambeth said the company’s strategy is to spend about 90 percent of its efforts collecting the largest debts, but will also apply about 10 percent of its time and resources working the oldest cases.

Linebarger Grogan has offices in Tyler and Kaufman and has collected for entities in Henderson County since 1984. The proposal states that if Henderson County contracts for the service, the firm will consider opening an office in Henderson County and placing a permanent employee there.

In other action, commissioners approved:

• scheduling a public hearing for Jan. 8 to determine a speed limit for County Road 2514 in the Payne Springs area;

• an interlocal agreement between the Henderson County Sheriff’s Office and Victim Relief Ministries Inc.;

• a proposal from Bancorp South Services to provide commercial insurance for 2013; and

• payment of bills in the amount of $246,431.45.