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Batavia signs on to state debt collection program

Updated: January 10, 2013 6:37AM

BATAVIA — Aldermen have given the OK to joining the state comptroller’s local debt recovery program to recover uncollected debts owed to the city.

The program, enacted into law a year ago, gives local governments the flexibility to have the state collect unpaid debts for such things as parking tickets, utility bills and school fees.

“We actually do not have a lot of bad debt,” Peggy Colby, Batavia finance director, told members of the Government Services committee.

“With owning our own electric utility, we can shut power off — that’s usually successful in getting debt paid,” Colby added.

According to the program, 100 percent of debt owed can be deducted from a person’s tax refunds, lottery winnings and commercial payment checks.

For a person who is on the state’s payroll, no more than 25 percent of the employee’s disposable income can be deducted to recover a debt.

Certain state checks are exempted, such as the senior circuit breaker program and retirement payments.

Colby said there is no fee associated with the program.

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