City of Natchez fines facing bit of inflation

Published 12:07 am Saturday, July 14, 2012

LAUREN WOOD/THE NATCHEZ DEMOCRAT — Natchez Police Sgt. Vince Bates writes out a speeding ticket during a traffic stop Friday on Homochitto Street. Traffic fines are projected to increase $5 due to an increase in the amount the state collects in assessments for fines.

NATCHEZ — If you’re caught speeding, shoplifting or violating other traffic laws or misdemeanor laws in the City of Natchez, it will soon cost you a few more dollars.

Municipal Judge Jim Blough said the amount the state collects in assessments for fines is increasing this year, so the city will be increasing its fines to keep up.

Blough said numbers have not been finalized yet, but he said he believes fines for traffic violations will increase $5 and misdemeanors, $10.

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Blough said there are three different amounts municipal court collects: state assessments, restitutions for victims of crime and the amount due to the city.

The total municipal court collections for June were $62,888, of which $10,584 went to restitution.

The net total of fines received was $52,303, of which $18,524 — or 35 percent — went to the state and $33,779 went to the city. The highest collections the city saw this year were in February when the municipal court collected $108,336, of which $6,520 was paid to restitution.

State assessments for January were $39,295, and the city received $61,997.

The city’s portion of the collections goes to the general fund, Blough said.

Blough said normally municipal court fines increase each year to keep up with costs, but increases are also needed, he said, to keep up with state assessments.

Blough said the state legislature mandates each year that a certain amount is collected for traffic violations, DUIs and so on.

“Every year in the legislature they change it, they increase the amounts or add additional assessments,” he said. “They have added some for this year, so fines are increasing.”