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City hesitant to hire debt collection agency to recoup bills

Dec 14, 2012 Philip Burgess

City hesitant to hire debt collection agency to recoup bills
Like many city and state governments across the United States, Boynton Beach, Florida, is dealing with serious debt collection issues.
 The municipality is currently owed more than $1.3 million, of which the majority is coming from unpaid bills to the city's fire-rescue department, The Palm Beach Post reports. The city is currently weighing whether to employ a debt collection agency to recoup the money. One of the factors stalling the city government's decision is the amount of money debt collection companies usually charge. According to the newspaper, the current agency they work with, Penn Credit, would receive 16 percent for bills collected on the first try. "Any tool we can use out there to help us recapture our lost revenue, we'd love to pursue," interim City Manager Lori LaVerriere told the newspaper. "Ideally, we wouldn't have to deal with collection agencies. But that's how it is." States such as Louisiana have also been dealing with a similar problem, yet on a much larger, billion-dollar-plus scale.