The city of Houston recently announced that it would be going after those who owe it money by using debt collection
agencies. The Houston Chronicle reports that the city has nearly $1 billion in unpaid fines and fees, and has launched an aggressive new program to get paid. The city will put more pressure, through its hired agencies, on people who owe money for parking tickets, code violations or unpaid ambulance fees. Houston Mayor Annise Parker said that the city wasn't willing to let people off the hook. "We cannot afford to leave any money out on the table, so we're going to go out and collect it," Parker said in an interview with the paper. City leaders are hoping to combat the $54 million shortfall for this year's budget and the projected $120 million shortfall for the next fiscal year, which starts in July. An Idaho town recently took similar action. The Idaho Mountain Express reports that the town has hired a collection agency to get the $109,000 it is owed.