Delays on City's Collection Agency Contract

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PATERSON, NJ – The city’s efforts to track down deadbeats who owe the municipal court more than $7 million have run into a speed bump.

Almost four months after the City Council approved a contract with a Milwaukee-based collection company, Paterson officials are waiting for the New Jersey Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC) to give them the green light to go ahead and hire the firm.

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City Purchasing Agency Harry Cevallos said the AOC sent Paterson a letter dated January 22 saying it would review the proposed contract and render a decision within 30 days.

Paterson finance officials had hoped the contract would be in place soon enough so they could incorporate projected revenue from the collections into this year’s budget, which would have helped close a $8.5 million deficit.

Business Administrator Charles Thomas said the delay in getting the contract going means the city may not be able to use any revenue from the delinquent court payments in the budget. But, he said, the city has been working on other ways to close the deficit.

Under its deal with Professional Account Management, the city would get 78 percent of whatever the company collected.

Thomas has said the company has a track record of collecting about 35 percent of delinquent fines and other court payments.

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