During Tuesday night’s Committee of the Whole meeting in Perth, council participated in a lively discussion about the collection of fines due from those who have died. It is the town of Perth’s policy not to pursue the payment of fees from the estate when a debtor is deceased.
Mayor Fenik clarified with Treasurer Brian Burns that this remains the town’s policy regardless of the financial status of the deceased individual. Burns indicated that this is the policy regarding all debts owed from deceased persons.
Councillor Cameron pointed out that collections agencies gather what is owing to them when the debtor passes away, so “why can’t the town put the claim in? Why do we just say ‘okay, so long,’ and not pursue it?”
“I think it would cost us more to pursue it than we’d get back,” commented Councillor Brown. Councillor Bird agreed, elaborating, “We’d have to pay someone to do this, and it would be cost prohibitive.”
In his report to council, Burns highlighted the need to write off uncollectible debts from the bookkeeping records, as they give “a false impression of fines which may be reasonably collected.”
Council voted in agreement with Burns’ report to pass a by-law to write off $98 011.92 from Provincial Offences Accounts Receivable.