Current court fines system not working

Published 12:05 am Thursday, October 29, 2015

Natchez and Adams County have struggled with something hundreds of businesses across the area and perhaps millions of divorced women have struggled with as well — collecting from deadbeats.

At Tuesday’s Natchez Board of Aldermen meeting, the city learned that despite entering into an agreement with a company that specializes in helping municipalities collect outstanding court fines in 2011, the system never got started.

The company said court personnel didn’t want to turn over paperwork to the company and thus the company’s work was never allowed to begin.

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Regardless of the cause, the problem of outstanding court fines is one that has hampered this community for years.

In the county’s court systems the outstanding amounts on the books number into the millions of dollars, though many court officials believe some of these are so old and outdated much may be uncollectible with some of the debtors dead and gone.

Whether or not the system the city agreed to use, but didn’t, is the answer or some other system is needed, taxpayers deserve to have the funds recouped using whatever reasonable means are necessary.

Unfortunately, as is often the case with “other people’s money,” such matters are rarely a high priority for city and county leaders, though they certainly should be.

We urge city and county officials to work together to create a system to effectively put more resources into making people pay or work off fines, if they’re unable to pay, by doing manual labor for local government.

Clearly, the current system may not be the best, most effective option out there.