Mt. Vernon Register-News

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September 6, 2013

County turns to collection agency

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"This is at zero cost to the county and its taxpayers and addresses the issues of collecting delinquent fines and fees in which John's office doesn't have the capacity to address that issue," Hoffman said. "For my office, it requires pulling files and bringing them to review court and collecting minute fines. It becomes a losing proposition and is somewhat counterproductive," added Scott.

When the program was announced, Scott said, "There has been a large backlog of fines and fees, which my office keeps records for because they are closed cases. It has done nothing but grown steadily over the years. The amount of money owed to the county and owed to the citizens has also grown."

The amnesty period, which ran from March through June, resulted in the county clearing some delinquent accounts.

"There were several thousand dollars brought in during that time period and numerous cases were closed out due to that fact," Scott said. Officeholders announced in February the 50 percent reduction in debts would only be offered once and then the debts would be turned over to a collection agency.

Pioneer will begin collecting the old debts immediately, according to local officials.

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