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Local News

Joliet will pass on collection fee to debtors

Joliet wants to step up collection on unpaid parking tickets and other debt owed to the city.
Joliet wants to step up collection on unpaid parking tickets and other debt owed to the city.

JOLIET – Parking ticket deadbeats and others who owe the city money for unpaid bills or fines now face an additional 22 percent charge to cover the costs of collection.

The City Council on Tuesday voted to pass on that cost to the debtor.

Joliet is stepping up its efforts to recover an estimated $2 million in unpaid fines, fees and bills.

The city in January hired Linebarger Goggan Blair & Sampson, a law firm that does collection work for municipalities across the country, to go after debt more aggressively.

The firm, which also does collection for the city of Chicago and state of Illinois, has not started yet but is expected to go to work in April.

The city has used two other collection services that will continue to work on accounts they have had in the past. New debt will be assigned to Linebarger Goggan Blair & Sampson.

Joliet in the past has absorbed the cost of collection, now set at 22 percent of the money collected, according to a staff memo.

The ordinance approved Tuesday allows the city instead to charge that 22 percent to the debtor, which will be added to the money owed.

“This is a common practice,” City Manager David Hales told the City Council at a workshop meeting on Monday.

The council on Tuesday also:

• Approved a $219,472 bill for five contractors hired Feb. 8 through 11 to remove snow in the city’s 600 culs-de-sac;

• Agreed to pursue a Certified Local Government Matching Grant that would pay up to $29,000 of the estimated $42,000 cost for assessing the condition of buildings at the old Joliet Correctional Center now being leased by the city;

• Approved a new tax increment financing district that expands the property tax incentive to most of the downtown area, where TIF incentives have been in place since 2000;

• Tabled a TIF agreement for the Historic Louis Joliet Apartments at 22 E. Clinton St. in the downtown area as city staff reviews an aspect of the agreement that would allow the incentive to be used to renovate market-rate apartments but not units available to lower-income tenants;

• Heard from Fire Chief Joe Formhals that the fire department is in the process of hiring nine firefighters this month;

• Approved a drive-thru permit for a future Dunkin’ Donuts that will be part of the Route 66 Food N Fuel to be built at 21670 CenterPoint Way.

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