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updated: 6/4/2012 10:23 PM

State to collect unpaid debt for St. Charles

St. Charles joins state debt recovery program

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Your state income tax return may be smaller this year if you have any unpaid parking tickets, utility bills or other outstanding debts to the city of St. Charles.

City officials announced Monday that they are partnering with the state comptroller's office to collect unpaid debts. The partnership is part of a new state law that came onto the books this year that created the Local Debt Recovery Program.

Any municipality, including St. Charles, can enter the program. The names of anyone owing the city money will be put into a state database. That database will be cross-checked before the state pays out any state tax refund, commercial payment, lottery winning, retirement or payroll check that comes through the comptroller's office.

If there is a match, the money owed will be deducted from the check that the comptroller's office would have otherwise paid out. The deadbeat debtor will also have to pay for the administrative fees associated with the program.

There is no cost to St. Charles or any other municipality that enrolls in the program.

City officials said they have not yet compiled all the data on outstanding debt owed to the city. So there was no estimate about how much money St. Charles may reap by entering the program. But with no costs to the city, aldermen said the idea was a "no-brainer."

In other action, aldermen put a tentative stamp of approval on using $89,400 worth of tax dollars to fund arts programs and other events through the city's Cultural Commission. The commission awards the dollars based on the proposals it receives and the likelihood that the proposals will be able to generate tourism income for the city. The $89,400 comes from the proceeds of the city's hotel/motel tax.

Groups set to receive money in the new round of allocations include St. Charles Heritage Center, which will get $33,250; the St. Charles Singers, which will get $11,000; and the Steel Beam Theatre, which will get $9,400.

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