Write-offs city's last resort for delinquent utility bills

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

After exhausting all possibilities of making collections on some 250 delinquent accounts, the City of Greencastle regrettably has written off more than $13,000 in unpaid utility bills.

The Board of Works took that action on more than three years worth of unpaid billing for water, trash and wastewater accounts.

The breakdown was $8,472.11 in water, $4,060.43 in trash and $1,207.45 in wastewater accounts.

Those numbers, totaling $13,739.99, represent the remainder of the delinquent accounts after all utility deposits were applied.

"These are three years of claims, so we are doing better at collections," Mayor Sue Murray noted prior to the board's unanimous approval to write them off.

Actually, the write-offs in question cover the period January 2008 through July 2011, so it really represents a 3-1/2-year timeframe.

Conversely, for many years the city wrote off such uncollected utility accounts annually after exhausting available collection options.

City Attorney Laurie Hardwick explained that a number of the bills in question this time have gone unpaid due to the death of the person named on the account.

Others have moved away from Greencastle without a forwarding address being available, while still others have declared bankruptcy.

Several other accounts written off by the Board of Works action involved defunct Greencastle businesses like ABC Gyros & Pizza, LaCharreada, Service Glass and Smoking Hog BBQ.

The delinquent accounts range from one's individual owing $204.47 for water and trash to another who had only an unpaid balance of $3.03 ($2 for water and $1.03 in trash) after all deposits had been applied.

While the write-offs help clean up the end-of-the-year books for the City Utility Office, it is important to note that any attempt to establish a new utility account by those named on delinquent billings will be refused as long as there is any unpaid balance owed to the city.

Mayor Murray and fellow board members Trudy Selvia and Thom Morris approved the write-off request from the Utility Office staff.

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  • I think Smoking Hog BBQ has a location still open in New Palestine.

    -- Posted by fishersresident on Tue, Dec 27, 2011, at 5:00 PM
  • Send to collection agency-they find people and if they don't pay it goes on their credit report-can get at least 50% recovery on dlq amount charged off.

    -- Posted by peace2019 on Wed, Dec 28, 2011, at 3:23 PM
  • I used to get decent returns on my old accounts that I would contract out to collectors, but it seems like lately people just don't have any money, so I wasn't getting paid anything on bad accounts. I stopped even trying on the really bad ones; I figure why hound people if they're broke. It does make me tighter with the credit I offer people though.

    -- Posted by Clovertucky on Wed, Dec 28, 2011, at 10:35 PM
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