The Terre Haute Sanitary Board is continuing to seek unpaid debt and it declined Tuesday to write off more than $193,000, at least for now.
Some, or even most, of that money may not be collectible, but the board would like to know why, and it tabled a motion to remove it from collection efforts.
“We have not gotten any response and, for whatever reason we have not filed [lawsuit], not entered into payment terms and we have greatly exceeded our 180-day threshold” for collection on these past sewer bill accounts, Brad Spiedel the city’s director of information technology and wastewater utility specialist, told the board.
The board in 2017 began targeting “irrecoverable” debt, considered older than three years, as well as unpaid sewer bills and fees that do not meet requirements of a property tax lien.
At the time, the city had more than $440,000 in debt dating back to early 2013.
The board entered into an agreement with Terre Haute law firm Sacopulos, Johnson, Sacopulos to act as a debt collector, with the collector paid from fees added to delinquent sewer bills.
Since that time, the board has recovered about $63,000, Spiedel said.
The write-off debt considered by the board, spread over 70 accounts, are among the first batch sent to the law firm in September 2017, Spiedel said.
The debt owed by individual accounts ranged from $8,900 down to $1,000. That debt has now been “pulled back” from the collection firm for action to declare as a write-off, Spiedel told the board, adding he expects other debt to be also considered by the board as a write-off.
Board attorney Terry Modesitt asked if there were reasons stated for no legal action on some of the claims.
“That is a lot of money,” Tim Adams, board vice president, said of the total — $193,678.
Spiedel said he had no information on why lawsuits were not filed on some accounts. He told the board that reasons the debt could not be collected range from debtor’s bankruptcy; a claim going past time able to collect; or the collection agent is unable to reach persons on accounts.
Modesitt suggested the board table the issue until he could determine if lawsuits were still an option for collection. The board agreed.
In other business, the board opened three bids for a project to improve storm water drainage in two sections of Robinwood subdivision.
The bids were $527,016 from White Construction; $466,645 from Feutz Contractors Inc.; and $331,988 from Dennis Trucking and Excavating.
The board took the bids under advisement for a review by the city engineering department.
The project is to install new curbs, gutters and storm water drain on Bluebird Lane in the northeast side of the subdivision and improve a ditch and replace culvert pipes in driveways on Chickadee Lane in the northwest side. Both projects would drain storm water into Lost Creek.
The project may be done as one project this year or separated into two phases and completed next year.