CLEVELAND (WJW) — The FOX 8 I-Team has uncovered the city of Cleveland not collecting payment on tens of thousands of bills.

It’s big money that could go towards paying for police, fire, EMS, fixing streets and more. So many of you struggle to pay taxes. Yet, we’ve found the city way behind on collecting money it could’ve been bringing in all along.

The city has fallen far short on collecting bills for ambulance services as car crashes, shootings and medical emergencies keep coming.

And, records show the city keeps falling more and more behind on the bills for ambulance services.

In fact, we found the city has over 22,000 unprocessed claims. In June, we spoke to a former manager in EMS billing. She had been punished for allowing or participating in “improper billing practices.”

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She denied that, and she also reminded us this affects your wallet.

“If I was a taxpayer in the city of Cleveland, I’d be very upset right now that those claims are not being processed,” she said.

The records indicate in July, the city did not process 3,453 claims. In June, 3,918 claims. In April, 5,920 claims, and so forth.

It’s money not collected from bills long after EMS rushes patients to the ER.

“That’s a substantial amount of money,” Cleveland City Council Public Safety Chairman Michael Polensek said.

We shared our findings with Polensek, and he plans to ask questions at city hall. That’s money that could be collected, and it could be going to help you.

“It would go to the general fund,” the councilman said. “So, that’s police, fire, EMS, waste collection, it’s street repair, recreation…”

Back in June, we tried to press Cleveland Mayor Justin Bibb about this. He scrambled away.

For this story, once again, no one at city hall is answering questions on camera. The mayor’s office did, though, send a statement saying the city has made management changes to address the backlog. And, the city is bringing in an outside contractor to help catch up.

The statement also said: “We continue to focus management attention on enhancing the operational effectiveness of the unit.“

Compared to last year, the City says collections are behind by about $800,000.