By LOUIE DIAZ
On March 2, the San Benito City Commission held a regular meeting and discussed the approval of written statements of findings for tax legal services and for municipal court legal services with Linebarger, Goggan, Blair & Sampson LLP.
Attorney Monica Soliz presented an item. She explained that a written statement of finding was needed to proceed with specialized contingent fee delinquent tax legal services. The services are with Linebarger, Goggan, Blair & Sampson, LLP. who also work with the San Benito CISD and Cameron County.
“’Do we need it, are they going to listen if the city management sends the letter saying you owe taxes’ or are they going to pay attention if it’s a law firm. I think the answer is people pay much more attention when it’s a professional firm like that,” De La Rosa explained regarding the need for tax legal services.
Mayor Ricardo Guerra was in favor of approving the statement of finding.
“As long as you don’t target the people who have held up their end of the bargain as far as paying, but because of COVID and everything and now they are 30-60 days delinquent, ‘as long as you try to work with them, I’m okay with this ” Guerra said. “If I see they are abusing their authority with this—like I told the gentleman—I’ll put you back on the RFQ on this.”
Soliz explained that San Benito has about a 98% tax collection rate. She explained that the law partners only go after about 2% of the taxes that are delinquent.
“We’ve always maintained a very consistent collection rate. We implement different levels of collection it’s not always just filing lawsuits,” Soliz said.
Soliz mentioned that they employ different methods of collection including sending letters about eight times and home inspections in which they go out and knock on peoples’ doors and deliver letters to them.
Commissioner Pete Galvan questioned whether 2% delinquent taxes constituted as a problem.
“No, I think the problem is when there is anything delinquent,” De La Rosa said. “If you are not proactive in doing collections then you have no teeth to enforce it; it’s going to get away from you.”
A motion was made by Commissioner Rene Villafranco and seconded by Commissioner Rene Garcia. The consideration passed unanimously with the Mayor Pro Tem abstained from the vote.
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