The Chicago Tribune reports that Clarendon Hills is considering hiring a collection agency to help in handling the backlog of fines and fees from false alarms and parking tickets. And now, the question everyone is asking is whether that is even possible.
The Municipal Collections of America is the agency recommended by Village following a research by the assistant to the police Kelly Green. Green who earlier contacted municipalities for recommendations and checked ratings from BBB (Better Business Bureau) says that the collection agency might finally help them solve a problem they have had for a long time.
The challenge, however, is how to pay the collection agency. The company which uses a secure collection agency merchant account, has offered to collect the debt and pay Village in full. The agency would then charge an additional 35 percent of the ticket value for collection fees.
“We will be speaking with the Village attorney to discuss the matter,” said Zach Creer, who is the assistant to the Village manager. “We aren’t sure yet whether we can have that fee added on.”
Creer says that they are also looking at alternatives should that plan fail. I’m certain they are exploring the possibility of allowing the agency to deduct a fee from the collected fines.
“It’s a dire situation. We need to collect fines when there are violations and that’s what we are going to do. If that means we have to deduct agency fees from the collected fines, then can look into that.”
Generally, an unpaid ticket increases in owed amount as time passes. This way, a $25 ticket would increase to $50 within 30 days and then to $75 after 60 days. Clarendon Hills currently has close to a thousand tickets, some dating as far back as 2009.
He notes that perhaps the reason they have so many uncollected fines is because violators see them as a small town.
“It could be that maybe some of these people look at us and think that we are just a small town. What are going to do if they don’t pay?” he poses. What they don’t know is that we are not giving up on this. Until the tickets and false alarm fees and fines are paid, we will keep looking for ways to bring the violators to book.”
The Village Board will proceed with the discussions in March.