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Ironton contracts with collection agency for delinquent water bills

Ironton residents with delinquent water accounts should be expecting to hear from a collection agency sometime soon.

The Ironton City Council unanimously passed a resolution expressing the city’s intent to contract with Rossman & Company for the collection of utility accounts that are more than four months delinquent.

The resolution passed at the council’s regular meeting Thursday night.

Currently, there are more than 2,000 delinquent accounts that range from $1 to more than $1,000, water superintendent Mark White said.

The accounts add up to about a half million dollars and date back to the late 1990s and early 2000s.

Randy Hornsby, a representative from the company, explained that the company’s success rate ranges from 12 to 15 percent. The city will be charged 20 percent of what the company collects.

Customers with delinquent accounts can expect to be receiving a letter from the company within the next 60 days.

Hornsby said that if the bills are not paid within a specified amount of time, they will be reflected on the customers’ credit reports. The company can also sue the person for the amount of the delinquent account, though it will cost the city a 35 percent fee.

If residents receive a collection notice, they are asked to pay Rossman directly, rather than going to the city.

“We ask that people (pay) through the company but we will accept them through the (water billing window in the City Center) because we don’t want to turn those away,” White said.

The city will take the amount of the delinquent account and spread it over all of the fees that are reflected on the water bill.

“This is actually collecting the water, garbage, municipal, administrative, fire and sanitation fees,” White said. “This bill is not just a water bill.”

In other business, the Ironton City Council also:

Passed a resolution expressing the city’s intent to transfer the title of the Ro-Na Theatre to the Ironton Port Authority. The transfer is contingent upon the IPA and other participating groups receiving certain state and federal historic tax credits and having financial resources to undertake the restoration of the facility as a performing arts center.

Heard the second reading of an ordinance allowing the city to vacate a portion of Eden Alley.