BAKER — The City Council is urging City Court Judge Kirk Williams to sign a contract with a company to collect debts owed to the court.
The council Tuesday also discussed the possibility of employing that company, Texas-based American Municipal Services, to help the city recover its own outstanding debts.
“As you know, I know every mayor in the state and those involved in the program were positive about it,” Councilman Pete Heine said.
However, Mayor Harold Rideau said the city already has a contract with a debt-collection company, but he couldn’t remember the particulars and said he will research the matter.
All administrative costs of collecting the outstanding debts would be covered by a 30 percent collection fee paid by the debtor, Amanda Stucker, of AMS, told the council. The fee is set by state law, which also states that parking tickets cannot be included. The company works with cities to lift warrants on debtors if they pay their debts or commit to a payment plan. The program would not cost the city anything and would likely bring in revenue from debts they are unable to collect, Stucker said.
The council voted 4-1 in favor of a resolution encouraging Williams to sign the contract. Charles Vincent cast the lone no vote, saying he wants to talk to Williams personally rather than pressure him with a resolution.
In other business, the council unanimously passed a resolution in support of proposed state constitutional amendments 3 and 10, which are designed to streamline the process of disposing of blighted or abandoned properties. The amendments will go before voters on Nov. 4. Amendment 3 would allow municipalities to hire outside collection agencies to collect delinquent property taxes. Amendment 10 would reduce the length of time local governments have to wait before selling vacant property from 36 to 18 months.
“This would make it easier to get blighted property back into where someone can use it or build on it,” Rideau said.