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Aurora aims to pass costs for collection on to debtors

Updated: November 4, 2012 6:19AM

AURORA — Residents who let parking fines or an unpaid water bill go to collections may soon be paying for the cost the city incurs to collect the debt, too.

Aldermen discussed a proposed City Code amendment Tuesday night that would allow the city to pass on the cost of collection to debtors whose accounts are referred to a collection agency or attorney for pursuit.

The city pays about $80,000 per year to a collection agency for their work, according to City Finance Director Brian Caputo.

When the outstanding fines are collected by the agency, the agency’s fee is paid from the debt amount collected, meaning that the city receives less money because the collection agency is paid first out of the amount collected.

Caputo said that when a delinquent account is large and the collection agency is unsuccessful in collecting it, the city sometimes uses an attorney to pursue the owed money.

Illinois state law permits municipalities to pass the cost of collection to debtors if aldermen authorize the move.

In March, aldermen unanimously passed a resolution that allowed the city to pursue the Illinois comptroller’s local debt recovery program, allowing the city to recoup fees from residents’ state income tax refunds.

Firefighters contract

Aldermen moved forward a three-year firefighters contract at the Commitee of the Whole meeting. Council is slated to vote on the contract at 6 p.m. Tuesday night at City Hall.

If approved, the contract will give privates and lieutenants a retroactive 1.25 percent raise for 2011, then a 2.5 percent raise for this year and another 2.5 percent raise for next year.

The city and the union that represents 161 rank-and-file firefighters agreed to the contract in September.

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