GENOA, OH (Toledo News Now) - A local village is working to get back thousands of dollars in unpaid utility bills, especially by people who "rent and run." Genoa officials said if everyone paid these bills, the village would be $20,000 to $30,000 richer.
Genoa hired a collection agency to try to get that money back. Scheer, Green and Burke worked for the village ten years ago to collect outstanding utility bills and taxes. Kevin Gladden, the village administrator, said that was successful, so they have decided to hire the agency again a decade later.
"It's not just for renters. However, renters always seem to be the problem source because they can pick up in the middle of the night and just move," Gladden said.
Gladden said several small communities have seen renters disappearing without paying their bills first.
The utility bills technically fall to the landlord, even if their renters skip out. The village has just two employees working in the utilities collection department. Gladden said he hopes the collection agency will help relieve some of that burden and achieve results.
"It's just a sign of the times. Times are difficult. Money is tight," Gladden said.
The agency gets to keep a third of the payment as a fee. The village gets the rest.
"The council and mayor felt that getting two-thirds was better than not getting anything," Gladden said.
The agency can file a civil suit if they still do not pay up.
"It's fair. I don't think anybody should skip out on their bill, especially if they got to enjoy the electricity or plumbing or whatever it is," said Angie Balduf, a Genoa resident.
All collected money will go to the general fund, which pays for street, sewer, water and electricity in the village.
"We've lived in Genoa our entire lives. It's a small town. It's a gorgeous town. It's safe," Walduf said. "We'd love to see that keep up the town, so anything that they can collect would be great."
Gladden said the agency has received a list and is working on letters now.
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