A Louisiana town approved hiring collection agency American Municipal Service to pursue an estimated $750,000 in debts including unpaid court costs and utility bills. Some of the debt is up to 15 years old.

American Municipal Services, based in Carrollton, Texas, will charge people who owe delinquent fines to the city of Walker, La., a fee not exceeding 30 percent of what they owe. A memo from Walker Mayor Rick Ramsey to city council members pointed out that the agency will not charge the city anything for its services.

Ramsey, at a meeting Monday, told council members that American Municipal Services has an estimated 75 percent success rate on recovering debts there are about two to three years old. Ramsey also said that the marshal of the Denham Springs City Court, Jerry Denton, agreed to help Walker officials - at no cost to Walker - clear some of the city’s outstanding warrants. Walker officials have delivered a list of 150 outstanding warrants to start that process, according to Ramsey's memo.

Walker officials plan to use the money collected to fund a variety of upgrades to the city's court system and police department.

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