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Seminole Co. looks to write off more than $1M in unpaid bills

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SEMINOLE COUNTY, Fla. - The Seminole County Clerk of Courts is going through a list of thousands of customers who have skipped out on paying their utility bills.

While most of Seminole County's utility customers pay their water and sewer bills on time, documents show more than $1 million in bills have gone unpaid.

"These 94 pages is an accumulation of about 20 years of bad debt expense," said Hubert Jacques of Seminole County Utilities.

Jacques said the bad debt is calculated into rates every year, but now his staff wants to balance the books and write off the uncollected accounts.

WFTV reporter Karla Ray asked, "Do you think the county has done everything in its power to collect these debts before writing them off?"

"Yes, I do. We have done everything we can," said Jacques.

But WFTV found out some customers on the list haven't been sent to collections.

Some customers owe a few dollars, but some owe hundreds, even thousands.

WFTV found one account owes $77,000. Officials said it was from a bankruptcy.

"I pay my bill all the time, you know what I mean? Why would they write them off?" asked Keith Held.

Jacques said with accounts on the list more than two decades old, it's time for his department to cut their losses.

"Normal collections, normal collection agencies say if it's more than a year old it's not likely going to be collected even by the collection agency," said Jacques.