A team of six student consultants from Columbia SIPA’s Capstone program was tasked with improving revenue collection processes and developing a detailed roadmap of specific improvements that the Municipality of Santiago could make to strengthen its fiscal position. The SIPA Capstone team identified reducing the arrears balance, specifically for business permits, as key to improving City Hall’s revenue collection rates. To provide actionable recommendations, the Capstone team undertook an extensive current state analysis of the business permit revenue collection process. After obtaining a deep understanding of the current state, the Capstone team tailored their best practice research and expert interviews with global tax authorities and municipal administrators to design a roadmap of quick wins and longer-term recommendations that were applicable to the Municipality of Santiago’s operating environment.

Through 16 teleconference interviews with leaders in the Municipality, 10 meetings on-site in Santiago, and 7 interviews with experts and leading practitioners, the Capstone team delivered a practical roadmap of 16 sequential recommendations: 6 quick wins and 10 longer-term steps that the Municipality of Santiago could begin implementing starting Summer 2019. The Capstone team focused on breaking down communication barriers and siloed work across municipal departments, rationalizing operating processes, improving the Municipality’s deployment of technology to aid decision-making, and deploying innovative behavioral communication strategies to increase compliance rates.