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updated: 6/21/2012 5:59 PM

Grayslake joins state comptroller's debt recovery program

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  • Bruce Bassett

      Bruce Bassett

 
 

Grayslake trustees have approved an agreement so a state agency can help the village get money from deadbeats for everything from parking tickets to water bills.

Village board members this week voted 5-0 in favor of joining the Illinois comptroller's local debt recovery program, a law that became effective Jan. 1. Grayslake joins only about 40 other governments statewide that so far have elected to be part of the initiative.

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Under the law, local governmental units -- including villages, townships, fire protection districts and libraries -- may enter into an agreement with the comptroller's office. It administers the program by diverting money from state-issued paychecks, tax refunds, commercial vendor payments or lottery winnings.

Similar to other towns, Grayslake intends to make an accelerated effort at collecting debt on parking tickets, permits, fines, water bills and other charges levied by the village. Officials said those already making timely payments to the village shouldn't carry the load for those who are in debt.

"By collecting debts owed, we're not socking everybody's who's paid," Trustee Bruce Bassett said.

Officials didn't estimate how much money may be owed to village government.

There is no cap to how much debt can be recovered in one lump sum from tax refunds, lottery winnings or commercial payment checks. However, the amount recovered from each state payroll check can't exceed 25 percent of an employee's net income, according to the comptroller's office.

Anyone who claims to have been unfairly targeted has 60 days to dispute the debt recovery and provide supporting documents. The office has received about 1,900 protests out of 65,000 instances of debt recovery since the program started in January.

Grayslake joins suburbs including Kildeer, Lindenhurst, Wheeling, St. Charles and Prospect Heights that have approved the establishment of the debt recovery program.

Elk Grove Village got on board in February and projects receiving about $31,000 that's mostly unpaid debt by residents. Using collection agencies to go after people delinquent on their water bills, police citations and other village fees had limited success, officials there said.

Chicago has received $6.8 million from the program this year, according to the comptroller's office.

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