Geraldine to collect outstanding debts, fees from residents’ state tax returns

Whether it’s court fees, library fees or utility bills, collecting outstanding debt isn’t always easy, which is why the Town of Geraldine decided during a council meeting Monday night to utilize Municipal Intercept Services (MIS).

The service works by “intercepting” funds from a resident’s state tax return, which then goes to the city to cover outstanding debts that are final, within the statute of limitations and at least 60 days old. Examples of debts include court fees and fines, judgements, library fees, medical bills, ordinance violations, parking fees, rental or lease agreements, returned checks, and sanitation fees.

Though not a debt collection service, MIS was formed in 2015 by the Alabama Department of Revenue. In addition to the debt amount, MIS collects a $25 fee for each transaction, which is also taken from the debtor’s state tax return.

The council approved using the service but said it needs to discuss how best to utilize it in Geraldine.

In other business, the council:

• approved the minutes from Feb. 2 work session

• approved the minutes from Jan. 11 council meeting

• discussed progress on the new T-ball field. Ables said the area had been Bush Hogged recently and the surveyor was expected to finish laying out the property this week.

• discuss progress on acquiring “Welcome to Geraldine” signs. Ables said he is still searching for the best place to purchase rock for the sign.

• discussed fixing lights around the walking track at the Geraldine Town Park.

• discussed the issue of lights being left on at the Geraldine High School Baseball field in the park past closing time as well as it being used by unauthorized people.

• approved paying the yearly insurance premium totaling $28,478.

• adopted Resolution 2021-02-08 to change the location of Council Meetings from the Geraldine Town Hall to Geraldine First Baptist Church to allow for adequate social distancing.

• renewed the town’s contract with Avenu Insights & Analytics to collect gas taxes for the town.

• discussed holding a farmers market in the spring for local growers.

• approved using Geraldine Clinic for employee drug testing. The city had been using a clinic in Fort Payne.

• approved paying bills totaling $26,277.80.

• approved donated $200 to the DARE program, which promotes drug awareness and resistance for students. Ables said all fifth-grade students are required to participate in DARE.

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