I was simply flabbergasted to hear that the city had $267,000 of uncollected ambulance fees, untapped revenue, which has accumulated over the years. Can you imagine what that money could buy for the Fire Department! Looking for revenue can sometimes be sitting right at your own backdoor. I wonder if the same thing is happening in other city departments where billing is taking place such as, court fees, Code Enforcement, sewer and water, income tax fees, etc.
When the budget begins to tighten, the city tends to look at the budget in different ways that they never had to look at before in order to gain revenue. Sometimes the city has to spend a little more money to collect the uncollected revenues like giving employees the right tools to collect the revenue. Maybe the city staff level has gotten so low that they can’t collect what is owed without having the proper tools such as updated computer equipment, personnel, software, etc.
I understand there will be money that can’t be collected but either decide to write it off or collect it but don’t keep it on the books for years. The problem of uncollected revenues needs to be carefully assessed by using problem solving skills and sometimes just plain common sense as to why the city is having difficulty collecting what is owed to them.
If the city is not aggressive enough in pursuing the debt, people soon catch on to the fact that they can get away with not paying their fair share of the revenues and the situation takes on an even a bigger scope of uncollected revenue.
Until next time, we hope the city will take an aggressive stand towards collecting what is owed to the them even if that means taking it all the way to court to set some examples that the city means business in collecting what is owed to the taxpayer.
Sharon Johnson is a born and bred Sandusky resident who's outspoken about community issues. Her blog, chronicling her efforts to keep tabs on city projects, is posted here Tuesdays at 11 a.m.