PHOENIXVILLE — The firm Borough Council hired last month to collect on delinquent fees will begin work in the fall, according to a press release from the borough.
Those who are determined to be delinquent on their water, sewer or trash fees will receive notice “after Sept. 2, 2014” of what balance is due the borough.
“Attached to the notice will be a schedule of legal fees that Portnoff Law Associates Ltd. will potentially assess against the property, if the property owner fails to respond to the notice,” the release sent out Tuesday said.
Borough Manager Jean Krack said a draft contract has been drawn up with Portnoff that still requires the Norristown firm to “sign off on it.”
“(We) should have that in place before our council meeting next week,” Krack said.
As such, exact details of how Portnoff will be paid for its service is not yet known.
“Portnoff utilizes state law that allows the costs of collection to be imposed upon the delinquent property owners, creating incentive for them to pay and reducing the burden of collection costs on the overall tax base,” the press release from Phoenixville Borough said.
In last month’s Borough Council meeting, Krack indicated that the borough would get the full amount of money owed it from delinquent customers. In the past, Portnoff has charged debtors an administrative fee for the collection of their late fees.
After receiving notice from Portnoff, those with delinquent fees will have a 30-day grace period “to make payment arrangements.”
“Delinquent owners who have failed to make payment arrangements or request hardship accomodations (during the grace period) will be assessed the legal fees and costs associated with the collection of their accounts,” the release said.
Portnoff’s hiring is at least partially due to nearly $1 million in delinquent water, sewer and trash fees owed to Phoenixville at the end of last year.
Some of the top debtors have paid up, according to Phoenixville’s finance director, Stephen Nease.
The borough closed its release by urging those with delinquent fees to mail or deliver their payments to borough hall “or by submitting payment online through the borough’s website” before Aug. 29.
Residents could also contact Portnoff immediately after getting their delinquent notice to “avoid additional charges.”
In the past, Krack noted that hiring a firm to collect delinquent fees would prove more effective than using in-house borough staff.
Follow Frank Otto on Twitter @fottojourno.