City’s Finance Department Announces Changes in Leadership and Revenue Collection Strategies

The City of Richmond’s Finance Department is filling five key positions in the month of October while also enhancing its revenue collection strategies. A number of technology upgrades are expected to improve customer service and heighten customer outreach.

Sharon Judkins, the deputy chief administrative officer for Finance and Administration, stated, “For the past six months, I’ve been focused on rebuilding and restructuring the city’s finance operation. With these appointments, we are well on our way to making necessary improvements.” Positions being filled include Deputy Director II (10/22), Marlo Von Kemp; Deputy Director I (10/15), Paul Jez; Controller (10/8), Alvin Cannon; Economist (10/15), Michael Gilbert; and Business Management Officer (10/8) Muhammed Owusu.

A focus has been placed on revenue collection strategies and improving data integrity.  Steps being taken include (1) pre-billing notices to taxpayers, affording an opportunity to verify and clarify data, (2) more frequent file comparisons with the State Department of Motor Vehicles files, (3) address verification with third party databases, (4) timelier processing of returned mail and posting of credit balances. An upgrade of the billing systems software is expected to enhance timeliness of the billing process. The Department has retained the services of two new outside collection agencies to assist with the collection of delinquent accounts while continuing to use the services of collection attorneys.

“Ms. Judkins is proving to be the tremendous resource and showing the leadership that I envisioned when she was brought on board in March. Aside from getting key positions filled, I’m also looking for improved customer service and customer outreach,” said Mayor Dwight C. Jones.

More than 70 new computers have been installed to improve the response time of desktop equipment, and new software has been installed in the customer billing system to improve functionality. Finance related calls to the city’s 311 Call Center are being realigned with the goal of improving customer care.

Judkins explained, “We still have more to do in the customer care area and plan to create a number of informational brochures and resources to assist taxpayers with information related to city taxes and other finance matters. We also plan to do a great deal of direct outreach in each council district as well as through all public communications mediums available for our use.”

Key upcoming dates that city taxpayers should be aware of include:

Motor Vehicles Pre-billing                                                  11/1/12

Admission, Lodging & Meals Tax                                       20th of each month

Real Estate billing (1st half)                                               11/30/12

Business, Professional & Occupational License                3/1/13

Business Property Returns                                                3/1/13

Tax Relief Applications                                                       3/30/13

Motor Vehicle Tax                                                               5/1/13

Business Property Billings                                                 5/1/13

Real Estate Billing (2nd Half)                                             6/14/13

Delinquent billings on all tax types will take place throughout the year when original due dates are missed.