In an effort to collect at least some of the over $500,000 in fines owed to the city, Wilton Manors commissioners approved an ordinance at their Nov. 28 meeting which will add a collection fee to delinquent accounts.
The fee will be administered by a debt collection agency and will be used for utility accounts, parking fines, and library fines; $158,000 is owed to the utility fund, $307,000 is owed in parking fines, and $56,000 is owed in library fines.
Finance Director Bob Mays said the collection fee is an effort to collect the backlog of old debt. “Some of it goes back to 2008 or before.” Mays said a collection fee would only be added to utility accounts 60 days or more past due, library fines that are at least 45 days past due, and parking tickets that are at least 120 days past due.
But commissioners urged city staff not to be too aggressive with the collection of fines from residents.
Mayor Gary Resnick said he doesn’t want to hear from residents that the collection fees negatively impacted their credit reports.
"I'm just concerned about turning over too much to a collection agency," Resnick said.
Vice Mayor Justin Flippen said he wants to see a balance struck between what is owed to the city and making sure people aren’t negatively impacted.
“It’s not our intention to be punitive,” said Mays.