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City of Wellington agrees to contract to collect bad utility debts

by James Jordan, Sumner Newscow — The City of Wellington agreed to a contract with the Collection Bureau of Kansas to try to collect bad debts for its utility department. The company is in the business of collecting debts for cities around the state, and some other entities, and will get a percentage of what it collects.

The council approved joining CBK at its meeting Tuesday.

The city has just over $1 million in bad debt that it has accrued since 2003. There is more that has been put in a state setoff program, and the city has collected some through that state operation.

The city had been working with CBK sporadically in the past.

Chad Hollins, a representative for CBK, was in attendance at the council meeting Tuesday. He said collecting 20 or so percent of the total is about the average per customer. Bad utility debts are hard to collect, he said.

He will give the city quarterly reports.

The contract is for two years, but either side can end the contract with 30 days notice.

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In other matters:

•The city approved a purchase of exhaust duct work for the sanitation department from the Kruse Corporation of Wichita. The cost is $11,740, which is below what was budgeted. The only other bid was for $24,500.

•The council also approved appropriations of special alcohol and drug fund money, which comes from the state through taxes on alcohol.

The following appropriations were approved:

Special Alcohol and Drug Fund
Big Brothers/Big Sisters $2,500
Mirror, Inc. $3,500
Project Prom $1,500
 Red Ribbon Committee $1,250
SU Co Community Drug Action Team $2,000
Sumner Mental Health Center $3,500
Wellington Police Department $600
Wellington Recreation Commission $1,500
Total recommendation  $16,350

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