Expressing dissatisfaction with their outsourced collection service vendors, a town in Pennsylvania and another in West Virginia recently moved to fire their agencies.
The town council of Swissvale, just east of Pittsburgh, voted unanimously not to renew its contract with its third-party debt collection firm, Central Tax Bureau of PA Inc., after Council President Dave Petrarca complained the agency was less than aggressive in collecting about $370,000 in past due garbage fees and allowed accounts to build years of debt.
Central Tax Bureau was actually eliminated as Swissvale's garbage fee collector in January 2006, the Pittsburgh Post Gazette reports, but is contracted to collect past due fees until Dec. 12.
Robert Villella, president of Central Tax Bureau, told the Gazette that his agency's
contract with any client "establishes the level of legal aggressiveness we are permitted to take."
When the contract expires, the borough will take delinquent homeowners before the district magistrate to settle their outstanding debts.
Meanwhile, in Bluefield, W.Va., city officials are unhappy with the fact that National Recovery Agency (NAR) has collected between 3% and 5% of more than $565,000 in delinquent street, fire and garbage fees.
Bill Calhoun, chief financial officer for the city, reported the recovery rate to the city's board of directors, who agreed this week to terminate the contract with NAR, the Daily Telegraph reports.
"A success rate of 3 to 5 percent is not acceptable," Calhoun said at the board meeting, according to the newspaper. Of the $565,0000 in past-due accounts sent to NAR last year, $30,269 was recovered [a 5.3% recovery rate], he said. Newer past-due accounts totaling $175,000 was sent to the agency this year, of which $6,000 was recovered [a 3.4% recovery rate], said the city CFO.
Board member Jim Bailey said that local resources, internal and external, would be used to continue the debt collection efforts. The city will advertise for new collection recovery services and solicit bids for the work.