The Scott Township Sewer Authority near Scranton, Pa. this week approved a contract with Portnoff Law Associates LTD to pursue an estimated $135,000 in unpaid monthly sewer bills. Delinquent residents will be charged additional fees and could lose their properties in a public auction.

Since the sewer system was installed in 2011, the amount of delinquent accounts has soared, from an estimated 80 to 128.

Portnoff's seven-step collection process starts with a notice of delinquency and ends with a sheriff's sale. Approximately 130 accounts are delinquent, with some landowners not having paid the $87.91 monthly sewer bill since December 2011, when billing started, Michael Giannetta, a supervisor and sewer authority member, told the Scranton Times-Tribune.

Portnoff's collection work doesn't cost the authority anything and has been delayed since approval in January as authority members negotiated the collection and legal fees the agency will charge delinquent property owners.

Approved in the rate resolution, fees charged to property owners for different steps of the collection process include $160 to send the first demand letter, $250 to file a lien and $800 to prepare a writ of execution.

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