Sep 28, 2011 7:54 PM by Andy Koen

City council stops till taps for Stormwater fees

In a closed door meeting Tuesday, Colorado Springs City Council instructed A-1 Collections to no longer use till taps as a means of collecting on any judgments for delinquent Stormwater Enterprise fees. The city hired the collections agency to recover the unpaid money.

Over the summer, the agency sought and won judgments in court against property owners using writs of execution. The practice, commonly called a "till tapping," sends sheriff's deputies under court order to remove cash from business registers and safes.

On Friday, deputies executed writs at three Colorado Springs Ace Loan and Pawn locations and the business owner reported the collection to the Colorado Springs Gazette. While legal, the incident prompted a strong public backlash over the image of uniformed government officers collecting on fees that many consider illegitimate.

On Monday, El Paso County Sheriff Terry Maketa ordered his deputies to temporarily stop all till taps for Stormwater judgements while he investigated the legalities of the practice.

The city is a client of A-1 and Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Ric Mills says they can request that the agency use other methods to recover the funds.

The sheriffs office reports that nine of the 13 till taps ordered by the courts this year were for delinquent Stormwater fees. Mills says his agency seeks typically writs of execution for accounts involving commercial customers that are primarily cash businesses.

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