New chief revenue collector appointed in Philadelphia

The city of Philadelphia is working to crack down on tax deadbeats. The mayor has created a new position specifically to bring in more of the $500 million owed to the city.

Thomas Knudsen, the former head of Philadelphia Gas Works, is Philadelphia’s first Chief Collections Officer.  His appointment comes in the wake of a report by consultants that called for making one person responsible for overseeing all collections in the city, from property taxes to ambulance fees.  Knudsen says what worked at PGW was offering the carrot before the stick.

“You want people to appreciate the services they are getting and understand they have a responsibility to pay and go after that payment at the front end. You do it as appropriately as you can and get tougher as the requirements grow.”

Mayor Michael Nutter says tracking down every dollar is a priority.

“You will start to see, and we have done this in the past much like we have done on the public safety side–top 50, top 100, top 200 tax delinquent folks in the city and better publicize those effort.  We are going to be in the court more.  We have to send a message that you received a service, you need to pay.”

The moves include a new Revenue Commissioner, former Streets Commissioner Clarena Tolson, who says she will work hard to learn the position and team with Knudsen to find as much revenue for the city as possible.

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