Forest Park is expected to have a new collection agency in the near future.

Village Administrator Tim Gillian said the village “parted ways” with Genesis Business Group in early 2018 because village officials “just didn’t feel they were giving us the service we needed.” Gillian said the firm served as the village’s collection agency for at least five years.

Leticia Olmsted, village finance director, cited the pending change to a new collection agency as a contributing factor to the shortfall in fines revenue for fiscal year 2018 that was disclosed in the annual audit. Fiscal year 2018 stretched from May 1, 2017 to April 30, 2018.

According to the audit, fines were budgeted at $1,330,000 but actual revenue was $972,811. In addition to the change in collection agencies, Olmsted tied the decrease to the fact that RedSpeed cameras on Roosevelt Road were not operating during the reconstruction project there. She also said past due fines are not being collected currently but village officials expect that some past due debt will be realized once the new collection agency is in place. The collection agency also collects overdue parking tickets. 

Gillian explained that village officials have been in the process of interviewing collection agencies and looking at the firms’ references but noted the complexity of the effort.

“It should be simple but it’s not,” he said, explaining that each agency does things differently which makes comparisons difficult. Most firms charge a fee based on amounts collected.

Gillian said the amounts collected varied annually but were in a range of between $100,000 and $200,000. 

“We’re starting to whittle it down,” he said, noting officials hope to have a new collection agency in place “in the near future.”