BAKER - Baker council members will consider hiring a collection agency Tuesday to go after people who owe money for outstanding warrants.
Faced with budget cuts to break even, council members will also consider a collection fee of up to 30 percent. Councilman John Givens says Baker has more than 6,000 outstanding warrants that are keeping money out of the city's pocket.
"Right now the city is going through a budget problem," he said. "We have more expenditures than we have revenue. So it would help to give back to the city, and the city can reduce the deficits."
Baker City Court Judge Kirk A. Williams says collection fees would give people an incentive to pay off outstanding warrants to avoid added fees on top of the warrant fee.
"We're talking about roughly $300,000 of bench warrant fees, but there's also fees associated with that which could range up to another $700,000. So maybe you're looking at a million dollars in outstanding bench warrants and fines," he said.
That's money that could help Baker out to offset some of the cuts made to balance the city's budget this year.
"What would happen is we would be able to do some other things and help the city do some other things, helping the budget and different departments like public works and public utilities," said Givens.
Williams also said the collection agency plan could also help out the Baker Police Department. He says officers wouldn't have to go after so many offenders who don't pay up.
Council members will also vote to approve the balanced budget at Tuesday's meeting.