City leaders in Charleston, W.Va. hope to recover an estimated $3.1 million in delinquent fees by publishing the names of the largest offenders on the city's website.
Twenty names of those with overdue fire and refuse fees were published last month and another 20 were posted to the site on Wednesday. The accounts add up to an estimated $610,000 in delinquencies, or about 20% of what the city's is looking to collect.
The city has collected an estimated $80,000 since the first batch of names were published last month. However, of the offenders actually listed on the site, only one has come forward to pay what's due. It appears that concerns about possibly being published have convinced many people with overdue fees to ante up.
The threat of a lawsuit also may be playing a role. Filing lawsuits against offenders is the next possible course of action for collecting the fees, according to Charleston's Finance Director Joe Estep. He told a local television station that up to 20 lawsuits could be filed in the next 10 days.
Local fire officials fear possible cuts in service if the delinquencies aren't paid.