WATERLOO — The city may join a program to collect debts by withholding state income tax returns and casino winnings.
Waterloo City Council members will be asked Monday to approve a staff request to participate in the “income offset” program run by the Iowa Department of Administrative Services.
The program allows cities, counties and other governmental agencies to place holds on a variety of payments the state makes to residents, including tax refunds, lottery and casino winnings and payments to vendors for goods and services.
Individuals who have payments held up would be required to settle their debts to the city — or dispute the payment in court — before the state would release the remaining funds.
Fire Chief Pat Treloar said his department was looking at the income offset program as a way to recover unpaid ambulance bills. The city must first attempt to collect the debt through normal channels before it can place the hold on state payments.
“We feel that it’s a program we should enter into that could potentially not only help Waterloo Fire in collecting on unpaid or outstanding ambulance bills, but maybe other areas of the city,” Treloar said.
More than 500 cities and other government entities use the program now, including Cedar Falls, Evansdale, Hudson, Denver, Jesup and La Porte City in the Cedar Valley.
Larger cities like Des Moines, Davenport, Dubuque and Iowa City also use the program. Cedar Rapids, for example, uses the income offset program to collect unpaid fines issued by its traffic enforcement cameras on Interstate 380.
Cities can only place holds on payments exceeding $50. The state collects a $7 administrative fee on every payment it holds for a community, but that cost can passed onto the bill for the person owing the debt.
The meeting is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Monday in the council chambers on the second floor of City Hall. Other scheduled business includes:
- A public hearing on a development agreement granting land for $1 and 10 years of 50 percent property tax rebates to Dahlstrom Real Estate for a planned $8 million, 200,000-square-foot warehouse on the northwest corner of Airline Highway and Wagner Road.
- An application to the Iowa Department of Transportation for grant money to install traffic signals at West Ridgeway Avenue and Greyhound Drive.