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Mission hires new tax collection firm after 24 years

Mission City Council approved a contract with Linebarger Goggan Blair & Sampson LLP for delinquent tax collection services after terminating the contract with the previous legal service agency in February. Linebarger has a three-year contract, including a six-month transition period with King, Guerra, Davis & Garcia PC — Mission’s previous tax collection entity. 

The King firm and the City of Mission had a contract together since 1999, but Finance Director Angie Vela said the city wanted to explore other options. City staff had no performance issues with King, Guerra, Davis & Garcia but felt it was time to compare their services to other agencies. 

While Linebarger Goggan Blair & Sampson is a national firm with an office in Edinburg, King is a local agency. Their website touts serving the Mission community, Hidalgo County and thousands of winter Texas internationally since 1922. 

City council also heard a presentation from Perdue Brandon Fielder Collins & Mott LLP before selecting Linebarger in a 4-1 vote, with Councilmember Abiel Flores dissenting. Flores voted against the new firm’s contract because he did not approve of how the city handled the King agency termination. He said he would have voted against either firm the council selected. 

“I take some responsibility for the process as well because when I…went ahead and approved that the contract would be terminated, I didn’t ask staff or anybody to give a courtesy notification to the current contract holder because, contractually, I understand we do not have to provide them with some notice that we’re going out for bids,” Flores said. “My understanding is that the request for proposals were put out to the general public and everybody had access to that.”

He continued to explain that his reservation comes from the fact that King, Guerra, Davis & Garcia held the contract for more than 20 years, and they weren’t given notice about the termination until about two weeks before the April 24 meeting. 

“We’ve always talked about transparency and fairness, and on this particular item, I just feel like we’re not being fair to the current contract holder,” the councilmember said. “And for that reason, and only that reason, I’m going to vote no to whichever firm is going to be voted on this afternoon.” 

To ensure the situation does not happen again, Attorney Victor Flores said the legal team will include a clause that requires a 30-day notice of the intent to go out for bids as a notice to the existing vendor. 

Despite Flores’s reservations, Councilmember Jessica Ortega said she felt comfortable with both Perdue and Linebarger because the city manager provided a listing comparing all three tax entities and determined the newer firms would bring better service to Mission. The council members praised both Perdue and Linebarger, but they could only choose one.

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