Outstanding claims on damage to city property will be pursued by Bell Gardens either by forwarding them to a collection agency or going to Small Claims Court under a procedure approved by the City Council last week.
The city has not actively pursued collecting on claims, of which there are currently 38 for property damage totaling $8,368, according to a staff report. Maria Aguirre, assistant city manager, said most of the damage is the result of motorists hitting signposts or other city property.
Under the new procedure, the responsible party will receive past-due notices at 30-, 60- and 90-day intervals after the initial billing. If the payment has still not been received, the city attorney will send a letter warning of possible legal action. After 120 days, the case could be referred to a collection agency or filed in Small Claims Court.