The Niles, Ohio, city council recently announced its decision to employ a debt collection
service to recover more than $250,000 in debt dating back to the 1990s, the Vindicator reports. "We're still checking, but I'm comfortable saying we're owed more than a quarter-million," Paul Lawrence, clerk of courts, told the news source. "We're looking at records beginning in 1996 when we were first computerized." A Gahanna-based company was recommended to Niles Municipal Court judge Thomas Townley by fellow judge Philip Vigorito of Newton Falls. Newton Falls is one of three neighboring cities - along with Youngstown and Warren - that have also used the service with success. For instance, the agency has recovered more than $64,000 for Newton Falls since it contracted them in 2010, while Warren has been able to obtain more than $237,000 in delinquent funds since hiring the firm. Debt has been a problem in Ohio across multiple industries. The Columbus Dispatch reports that the Columbus Public Library is owed almost $4 million from fines and fees, as well as damaged or lost books.