Council Authorizes ‘Collections Sheriff’ to Go After Debtors
The Los Angeles City Council voted unanimously Wednesday to continue the effort to collect the millions of dollars owed the city in unpaid bills, while also hiring a “Collections Sheriff’ to go after companies and individuals who are delinquent in payments.
There are more than $500 million in uncollected bills in non-tax receivables, according to a report issued last week. The top city agencies that have some of the highest number of delinquent bills are the department of transportation, and the police and fire departments.
The city council directed the office of finance to report on the status of the creation of a centralized city billing and collections agency, as well as consideration of a possible billing amnesty program. The city attorney’s office was directed to report on all legal options to go after delinquent payments and guidelines for legal action while also advising how much time a collection agency can have to resolve payment before it is referred to the city attorney.
Facing a city deficit in the hundreds of millions of dollars, Los Angeles officials are looking to collect unpaid bills to avoid further cuts to police, fire, traffic safety and other essential city services. The city has a budget of approximately $7 billion.
The vote also directs the fire and police department to report back on the current process for referring delinquent accounts to the office of finance, with recommendations on how to expedite the process.
All departments were asked to report back to the city council within 45 days.