Just northwest of St. Louis, Missouri sits a bustling suburb of nearly 30,000. This city is segmented by highways and interstates but united by a spirit of commerce and community. Home to lovely natural areas as well as a casino and waterpark, Maryland Heights is known as a great place to put down roots.
Because of its convenient location, Maryland Heights has attracted many thriving businesses. Edward Jones Investments has a regional office here, and it is home to tech-centric corporations and healthcare providers. For more than 30 years, this fast-growing suburb has seen constant construction of both housing and commercial developments as residents and entrepreneurs settle in.
But with growth comes challenges.
The leaders of this community struggled to keep up with records as new taxpayers streamed into the city. Maryland Heights wanted to make sure that everyone was paying their fair share, but knew that the tax rolls just weren’t accurate. These errors were promoting inequality, and robbing the community from dollars critical for capital-development projects. Something had to be done.
The issue plaguing Maryland Heights is fairly common. Unfortunately, municipalities can’t count on utility providers for clean records. Cities that have experienced rapid growth often find that managing up-to-date utility logs is a herculean effort, requiring lots of staff time and highly technical knowledge. Rather than spend internal resources on this task and risk that it might not pay off, the city’s leadership team sought the assistance of a reputable third-party provider.
While at a meeting of the Government Finance Officers’ Association, Maryland Heights leaders attended a presentation by Azavar. The city’s finance team was wowed by the technical acumen Azavar demonstrated, as well as its long history of exclusive partnerships with governments. They learned how other municipalities with the same challenge reaped significant financial rewards.
Azavar’s fee structure was also highly attractive to Maryland Heights. As a smaller municipality, leaders didn’t want to be on the hook for a high professional-services bill without knowing if it was going to result in positive findings. But with this payment model, Azavar receives a portion of any taxes recovered—and only after the municipality gets the bulk of the proceeds. Of course, for municipalities precluded from participating in a contingency-fee model, Azavar can bill on a fee-only basis.
In Annual Natural-Gas Back Taxes
In Annual Electricity Back Taxes
Pleased to partner with Maryland Heights, the team from Azavar quickly employed its proprietary auditing platform to uncover address-coding errors. The ultimate goal? To find all the instances where taxes had not been remitted and recover them for the people of Maryland Heights. Sounds simple, but Azavar painstakingly combed through records to find every possible penny while keeping the finance team in close communication.
Azavar’s staff employed its proprietary audit platform to parse address data and unearth coding errors in Maryland Heights, thereby finding instances in which taxes had not been collected or were improperly remitted. They kept the city fully informed of the progress of their investigations and assisted them in identifying and obtaining key information from the utility companies.
What Azavar found pleased Maryland Heights. The city had been missing out on nearly $6,000 in natural-gas taxes and almost $78,000 in electricity taxes each year. And that’s not just back taxes—those are funds that Maryland Heights would have continued to lose, year after year, without an Azavar audit.
Today, the City of Maryland Heights has much more accurate address rolls and equitable remissions. But ultimately, local leaders are most proud that they can demonstrate to residents that they’re doing everything they can to bring each precious dollar back to the community, for the future.
Has your community gone through land acquisitions? Or seen significant housing or commercial development? An influx of residents and businesses? You very well might be suffering from miscoded addresses and uneven utility-tax remittance. But you can’t claw back those funds or fix the issue for the future without a comprehensive audit.
Azavar’s team of professionals can walk your finance team through the address auditing process and review our flexible payment structure. Book your brief, one-on-one meeting today.
Address audits are a time-consuming task that called for data-analysis expertise well beyond the scope of our own staff. We learned of the success of other municipalities in uncovering and reclaiming missing tax revenues through working with Azavar.