More than $23 million owed to Lancaster County, Pa.'s Adult Probation and Parole Department was on the table last May when seven collection agencies competed for the right to pursue the delinquent accounts, according to information provided Monday after Lancaster Newspapers filed a Right-to-Know request.

The county last week awarded two-year contracts to Apex Asset Management LLC and Credit Bureau of York.

Under the deal, Apex will be permitted to add up to 20 percent to amounts owed. The county will keep 100 percent of what was owed and pay Apex the additional percentage on any accounts it successfully collects. The Credit Bureau of York received a secondary contract, jumping in after Apex's has completed its efforts on accounts, and will be permitted to add 25 percent to amounts owed.

The Right-to-Know request also revealed, along with the $23 million figure, that the county's Sheriff's Office was owed just more than $2,500 and the Prothonotary's Office was owed $55,929. That office is responsible for the recording and filing of legal papers for the civil side of the court system. Lancaster County officials have said it expects the private collection agencies to triple collections on amounts owed to the prothonotary to 15 percent.

Concerning collection efforts previously made by the county before sending to private agencies, the county reported the following procedures:

• The Prothonotary's Office sends an account for collection 30 days after the due date set by the court.

• Adult Probation and Parole first sends numerous notices or holds meetings with those who owe.

• The district courts issue warrants and constables attempt to serve them.

• The prison would perform no efforts internally and instead "will begin with invoicing and then move to collections."

Lancaster County did not provide figures to the collections agencies on amounts outstanding for district courts or the county prison, according to Lancaster Newspapers.

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