Officials express satisfaction with agency’s collection of court fines

Published 12:43 am Monday, April 10, 2017


NATCHEZ — Since a new agency took over Adams County Justice Court collections approximately six months ago, $40,000 to $50,000 in delinquent fines have been collected.Mississippi Court Collections based in Jackson replaced Natchez-based Receivable Solutions earlier this year, and Justice Court Clerk Audrey Minor said she has been satisfied with the service.

“The collection agency, Mississippi Court Collections, has a sophisticated computer system where they can find people I don’t have the luxury to find,” she said. “They are doing a good job.”

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Adams County Board of Supervisors President Mike Lazarus said the biggest deal to him about justice court has been the collections over time. In 2009, justice court had approximately $5 million in delinquent fines, but Minor said that is now down to approximately $762,000.

Lazarus said that $5 million mark keeps hanging around in people’s memory, but the county has been pushing to rectify the issue.

“That’s a heck of a difference from what it has been in the past,” Lazarus said. “Even $762,000 is not acceptable, but we have come a long way and we are going to continue to work on it.”

The collection agency is also helping the county remove bad debt, Lazarus said.

“Having a collection agency with better software to track these people will help us purge the rolls of people who have died or will never be found,” Lazarus said. “We are going to eventually get to a number that is uncollectable.”

Minor said the collection agency does have people bringing in death certificates to help purge the rolls, but they are also finding people who may not want to be found.

“They are finding people all the time that, for example, have a debt from 1985,” Minor said. “It’s still on the books because they never paid it, so it’s good debt they have to pay.

“They are finding a lot of people I probably never would have found.”

Minor said she has not had to have contempt of court hearings for unpaid fines recently. Minor said if the collection agency came upon someone who didn’t want to cooperate, she could send out a contempt letter and try to get the person to come in.

If the person did not come in, Minor said she could speak to the judges and ask for a bench warrant.

“I haven’t had to,” Minor said. “People are cooperating with the collection agency.”