County Will Beef Up Collections For Unpaid Fines
By David Howell
WATER VALLEY, Miss. – An Oxford attorney positioned his firm to collect outstanding fines owed to Justice Court and Circuit Court in Yalobusha County during the “first Monday” supervisor’s meeting held at the Water Valley Courthouse on June 4.
Ray Garrett told supervisors that his firm, Garrett & Friday, P.L.L.C, could aggresively pursue these fines at no cost to the county.
Circuit Clerk Daryl Burney explained to supervisors that there is $330,00 in outstanding fines owed Circuit Court. In Justice Court, there is another $77,500 in old fine money on the books, dating back to 1989. Garrett said that a 25 percent assessment fee can be added to the fine to cover his company’s expenses. That fee would increase to 50 percent for fines collected from people living outside Mississippi.
Garrett said that his firm had recently began offering this service, and they had already collected $76,000 for the City of Oxford in a three-month period.
“We are willing to dedicate the time to remind each person about their unpaid fines,” Garrett explained.
Currently the county has a similar contract with Mississippi Warrant Network providing the same service. The company, however, has not produced results according to Burney who said he was only familiar with one collection provided by the company.
Board Attorney John Crow said that contract could be terminated, following written notice.
“I have known Ray a long time and he is a hard worker,” Crow said.
Other business conducted at the meeting included:
• Approved a request from Steve Russell with North Central Planning and Development District on behalf of Windsor Foods agreeing to a pre-agreement approval from Mississippi Development Authority. This request, Russell explained, would allow Windsor Foods to count expenditures made prior to receiving a Community Development Block Grant (CDBG).
These expenditures, made by Windsor Food, then could be counted as matching funds prior to receiving the grant. Russell said that an estimated $15,000,000 would be spent by the company to purchase the building, equipment and other expenses.
Russell also presented a second letter involving environmental clearance for the site.
• Approved a bid for $100 to purchase a 2000 Ford Crown Victoria from the sheriff’s department. The car’s engine and transmission did not work, according to Sheriff Lance Humphreys, and many parts had been removed from the vehicle.
• Approved a bid for $450 from DATA Systems to purchase an obselete computer system from the county.
• Granted a request presented by Larry Sprouse to use right-of-way on a county road to extend a water line in Beat Four.
• Listened to a proposal from Melvin Gary to provide job-training, using the old Oakland school. He presented a drawing of the school property, which is owned by the county, showing improvements his organization, New Foundation, desires to implement. He explained that their plan, which would also offer recreation, would ultimately enhance the social conditions in the county.
Supervisors gave a verbal nod to Gary, providing he can work a deal out with the organization that currently leases the facility.