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Duluth OKs collections for red-light tickets

DULUTH - Drivers who fail to pay their ticket for running a red light in Duluth will soon face a collections agency.

The Duluth City Council on Monday night approved the Conyers-based company Maximus to collect outstanding citations for the next year. Maximus will keep 30 percent of the money it collects as its fee, according to the bid.

Chief Municipal Court Judge Charles Barrett said about $100,000 in outstanding fines have not been collected since the city began operating a red light camera in April. One camera is in place at the intersection of Pleasant Hill Road and Peachtree Industrial Boulevard and another is on the way for the intersection of Buford Highway and Ga. Highway 120 (Duluth Highway.)

The number of people who fail to pay the $94.50 fee is relatively small.

"The vast majority pay voluntarily either before court or come in with an appeal that is not upheld and pay," Barrett said.

In other business:

•The city is still fine-tuning a lease with Red Clay Productions to operate a community theatre in Calvary Christian Fellowship Church, filling the void left when Aurora Theatre moved to downtown Lawrenceville. The parties will have an option to renew the lease on a yearly basis. Shelly Howard, a managing partner of Red Clay Productions, said the first play will be "Educating Rita" in September. For more information, visit www.redclaytheatrearts.com.

•Employees in 20 different job categories will receive small pay raise, at a total cost to the city of $41,312, to keep the municipality competitive in the current market. The raise will be implemented beginning July 1.