City Collector Debora Marcoccio of Attleboro, Massachusetts, says, “My question is, how come it wasn’t paid when the (original) bills went out?”
It’s easy to understand why Marcoccio wants to know: the city spent 42 cents on a stamp to bill a blind woman who “underpaid” her water bill by one penny — let’s not forget the cost of the paper, the envelope, the time someone spent getting it through interoffice mail, or otherwise handling it.
The city would be “fiscally irresponsible” if it decided paid someone to weed through the bills and pull all those below a certain amount out.
My first thought is, “Hasn’t Debora Marcoccio ever heard of a computer? Computers can be programmed not to print bills when they’re below a certain amount.” Then I remembered something else Marcoccio said: “A computer automatically prints letters for accounts with an overdue balance….”
So let me see if I’ve got this right, Ms. Marcoccio. You have a computer that somehow computes whether or not there is an overdue balance. It therefore probably was programmed so that if the balance is greater than zero on a certain date then a bill should be printed.
How hard would it be to have the computer programmed so that if the balance is greater than zero and less than aCertainAmount, then (and only then) print the bill?
Voilà! No need to assign anyone to weed through the letters and pull out all those below a certain amount!