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County contracts collection service for outstanding water, EMS bills

 

The county is making new moves to collect money owed to it.

The Beaufort County Board of Commissioners has given the go-ahead to the county finance office to contract SCA Collections, Inc., a Greenville collections agency, to go after money owed for unpaid EMS and water bills.

“Not only will we have that, but (also) the debt set-off piece that we’re allowed to do under the state, which allows matches against tax refunds and lottery winnings,” said Beaufort County manager Brian Alligood. “The state will run debt against lottery winnings and state refunds.

If you have money you owe to the county, they’ll match it up and pull it out of there.”

Contracting with a collection agency came on the heels of a vote by commissioners during the same March 11 meeting to take advantage of another state statute that allows counties’ registers of deeds to not sign off on property transfers if the property has outstanding county taxes owed on it. The policy is an attempt collect delinquent property taxes.

Three agencies submitted bids for county EMS and water collections, with SCA quoting a commission of 23 percent. The highest bid came from On-line Collections, at 35 percent.

According to information provided to commissioners by SCA, no fees are passed along to the patient, and the commission taken by SCA is determined by the average number of accounts placed, average balance and average age of an account. SCA will use series of letters, phone calls to set up payment arrangements and credit reporting to all three credit bureaus to collect money owed for EMS and water services.