City officials say they have begun taking a more aggressive approach to collecting delinquent bills. Regina Turney-Murph, manager of the Compton Water Department and head of a special city collections unit, said that measures implemented this month include a computerized system to better determine which bills are delinquent, increased cooperation among city departments and private agencies to find people who have not paid their bills, and increasing from 10 to 25 the number of delinquent cases submitted to small claims court each day.

"People just don't want to pay," Turney-Murph said of Compton residents facing bills for such things as paramedic service, rubbish collection and leases on or damage to city property. Delinquent payments for rubbish collection alone, she said, amount to about $110,000. Figures for outstanding payments on other city services were unavailable.

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