Nevada writes off $433, 505 in debts | NevadaAppeal.com

Nevada writes off $433, 505 in debts

Appeal Capitol Bureau

The Nevada Board of Examiners on Monday voted to write off a total of $433,505 in debts owed the state.

Director of Administration Andrew Clinger said the agencies and the controller’s office agrees the individual amounts owed are uncollectable bad debts.

More than half the total came from the Department of Corrections. Lori Bagwell, of corrections, said more than 1,600 of those debts are for less than $1,000. She said they are amounts owed by inmates for such things as postage, medical visits, repayment for inmate damages and inmate injuries in either fights or recreational activities. Bagwell said inmates almost never repay those debts. She estimated corrections collected just $320 last year.

Clinger said $55,566 was written off by the Division of Water Resources. Those debts built up between 1994 and 2000 and are amounts owed by water rights holders who are deceased, bankrupt or no longer own the property involved.

The Department of Transportation wrote off $71,000 mostly owed by individuals for damaging state property and the Transportation Services Authority $51,500. Finally, the Department of Wildlife wrote off $3,298.

Gov. Kenny Guinn, chairman of the board, pointed out that writing the debts off merely clears the amounts from the state’s books. He said the vote doesn’t relieve the debtor of the responsibility to pay. That means if a debtor on the list is found later to have money, the state could go after repayment.

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The amount written off is only a fraction of a percent of the state’s $5.8 billion general fund budget.

The controllers office and executive branch agencies began more aggressively pursuing those who owe money to the state several years ago.

At the same time, they began identifying and writing off uncollectable debts still on the books.

• Contact reporter Geoff Dornan at gdornan@nevadaappeal.com or 687-8750.