Fairfield Ledger

Mt. Pleasant News   Wash Journal
Neighbors Growing Together | Nov 20, 2017

Council hopes to collect on delinquent water accounts

By Andy Hallman, Ledger news editor | Mar 01, 2017

The Fairfield City Council wants to track down water customers who have carried delinquent accounts for more than five years.

City Clerk Joy Messer told the council at its meeting Monday the city is owed almost $5,500 from seven accounts that have not paid their water bills. Some of the bills date to 2007 and the most recent are from 2010.

Messer said city staff have tried in vain to locate the account holders. In some cases, the people on the accounts have died or their business no longer exists, which has made it difficult to collect the money. In some cases, Messer said the deceased person’s estate has failed to respond to request for payment.

“We usually send delinquent accounts to the credit bureau,” Messer said. “These have already gone to the credit bureau, and even the bureau couldn’t find them.”

The council passed a resolution in May to write-off delinquent accounts more than five years old rather than carry them on the books. Messer said the seven accounts brought to the council would qualify for a write-off, and that the state’s audit of city finances recommended writing off the accounts.

Councilor Tom Thompson suggested the city should first establish whether the account holders own property. If they do, the city can put a lien on the property, requiring the debts to be paid off at the time it is sold.

The council voted to table the matter to give city staff time to investigate whether the account holders own property.

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