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- Case Study -

How Springfield, Illinois Recovered $1,000,000 in Franchise Fees

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Learn how Azavar helped recover funds and strengthen relationships

Springfield is more than Illinois’ state capitol. It’s also where Abraham Lincoln spent the bulk of his life working as an attorney and legislator before becoming president. And in 2008, then-Senator Barack Obama chose Springfield as the setting when announcing his own presidential campaign. Beyond politics, modern Springfield is a cosmopolitan city of nearly 115,000. It’s a must-visit destination complete with global restaurants, galleries and theatres, and iconic Route 66.

Mayor Jim Langfelder was first elected to city government as treasurer in 2003. Since taking the top job in 2015, he has continued to bring fiscal discipline and transparency to the Springfield community. He and his team are smart stewards of civic funds and are committed to making sure each dollar works as hard as possible for constituents—starting with a comprehensive revenue review.

Taking a sharp look

Underpaid franchise fees are one of the most common sources of lost revenue for a municipality. This happens for a variety of reasons, but can be uncovered through careful, skilled analysis. Unfortunately, combing through these records is complicated and takes up a lot of municipal time which might be otherwise spent providing direct constituent services. Beyond internal resources, a frequent challenge to identifying lost franchise fees is simply securing the cooperation of the telecom or utility company.

Springfield contracted with Azavar to tackle this confusing and complicated issue. Through more than 25 years of work almost exclusively with local governments, Azavar has honed the specific skills required to effectively identify lost franchise fees, hospitality taxes, sales taxes, utility user taxes, and more. The team applies advanced geographic information mapping tools to properly code addresses. This way, municipalities such as Springfield can more fully collect on this type of fee.

Uncovering and collecting

As the Azavar team combed through Springfield’s records, patterns and problems emerged. All told, Azavar discovered that Comcast had been underpaying franchise fees to the tune of nearly one million dollars. That’s no drop in the bucket—that’s a serious number.

In order to get those funds into Springfield’s coffers as soon as possible, Azavar helped negotiate a settlement with the cable provider and facilitated speedy payment. What’s more, Springfield ran little risk of throwing good money after bad had Azavar not found missing fees. The company’s contingency-based fee model means that Azavar only gets paid if it identifies uncollected fees or taxes.

Moving forward together

Azavar’s reckoning process not only resulted in increased remittances for Springfield but also helped boost transparency between Comcast and the city. With these discrepancies out of the way, Springfield’s finance team restarted negotiations with Comcast on a new, 10-year contract.

Your municipality can experience these benefits, as well. If your community is smaller than Springfield, we might still be able to recover serious dollars you can use to improve constituents’ lives. Partnering with Azavar’s experienced team is also a good idea even for larger municipalities with a deep bench of financial professionals.

Contact our team today to learn how your community can benefit from Azavar’s 360-Degree Revenue Cloud, a complete look at potential sources of revenue leaks.

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