Algood City Council approved changes to some of its court operations Tuesday night.
One being the first reading of an ordinance that establishes reasonable court costs and litigation tax. Mayor Lisa Chapman Fowler said this was a standard move.
“We have had it discussed with Municipal court specialist at MTAS who has advised us on this,” Fowler said. “We also think it would put us more in line with what other courts in the area are doing.”
Council also approved the first reading of an ordinance adopting e-citation regulations, as well as a license agreement with Courtware Government Software Solutions. Fowler said that the increase would not change the fine amount and has only to do with court costs and state and local litigation tax.
Fowler said that both changes would streamline bookkeeping and processing for the court clerk.
“Obviously we know Miss Ann (Flatt) does a great job as it is,” Fowler said. “But I had some time to sit with her and watch happens as she had to manually go through these tickets. She has to take the ticket and instead of just inputting it one time, she has to go through each ticket three different times. Enter the same information three times, which to me seems like a waste of time. Courtware, to me, seems to simplify that.”
City Manager Keith Morrison said that both minimum and maximum court costs would increase by some $40, and that there would be a separate $25 fee for any dismissed cases. He said that the city can impose court costs if they’re reasonable and that the city would be able to prove the costs would cover new court software, personnel time, or other necessary materials.
Morrison said that cost for the software is a minimum of $500 a month or $12 per paid citation, whichever is higher for the month. He said that the only exception would be if the city did not meet the minimum. Chief Dale Armour said it’s important to note that what the city would pay Courtware would be collected fees.