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Clay supes delay plans to collect fines


Jason Browne



The Clay County Board of Supervisors tabled plans to allow a web-based collection agency to begin pursuing more than $1 million in unpaid justice court fees during its Thursday meeting. 


NCourt already handles web payment of traffic tickets issued in Clay County, but the board decided to wait until a bond was signed before establishing a second Web site to collect the court fees. 


Clay County officials will request NCourt sign a $50,000 bond to act as a type of insurance against any financial problems the company may experience. The Web service would be free to the county as NCourt charges a fee for each transaction. NCourt charges 25 percent on traffic citations for the convenience of paying tickets without traveling to West Point. 


Although the service is free, District 5 Supervisor Floyd McKee opposed contracting with NCourt. 


"I''m against having it. (The Clay County Sheriff''s Office) needs to get up off their hinds and serve them warrants. If they can''t get (the fines) with a warrant and a badge ..." said McKee. 


He also claimed roughly 60 percent of Clay County homes do not have Internet access. 


"If we do like Lowndes County, (fines) are going to continue to get higher," said District 4 Supervisor and Board President Shelton Deanes. 


Lowndes and Oktibbeha counties mail a letter to individuals owing delinquent fines to appear in Justice Court after three weeks. If the individual does not appear for court, his or her driver''s license is suspended and an arrest warrant is issued. 


Lowndes has $2.5 million in outstanding Justice Court fines. Oktibbeha has just $325,000 in outstanding fines. 


In other business the board: 




  • Committed to pay $29, 455, or 20 percent of a Mississippi Heritage grant to renovate West Clay Agricultural High School. 


    Phylis Benson, project analyst with the Golden Triangle Planning and Development District, informed the board the application for funds appropriated by the Mississippi Legislature is due today, Oct. 9. The roughly $150,000 project will turn the historic high school into a community center. New heat/air systems, insulation, lighting, windows and restrooms are among the planned renovations. 


  • Agreed to meet with election commissioners at its next meeting, Oct. 22, regarding concerns raised by Jessie Ivy regarding a sign-in policy. 


    Ivy, husband of Jesse Ivy, an election commissioner, says the commissioners implemented a self-imposed sign-in policy to ensure commissioners were fulfilling their hourly commitments, but commissioner Wendy Fuller has refused to sign in. 


    "I hope the board will propose a motion that unless you sign in, you don''t get paid," said Ivy. 


    McKee agreed commissioners should sign in as proof of their attendance, but Deanes disagreed. 


    "They''re elected officials just like us. They shouldn''t have to sign in. If people don''t trust them, why do they keep getting elected?" said Deanes. 


  • Approved renewal of the county''s software maintenance agreement with Data Management Systems Inc. 


    The technical support contract costs the county $1,520 each month. 


  • Agreed to buy $2,000 worth of dirt for a bridge and culvert project on Chandler Road. 


  • Passed a motion made by McKee to have the abandoned Monte Glove building appraised for future sale. 


    "We need to get it on the tax rolls," said McKee of the old factory. 


  • Approved mileage costs for election commissioners and Deputy Circuit Clerk Barbara Spraggins to attend required annual SEMS training in Choctaw. 


  • Denied travel costs for Constable Lewis Stafford to attend a non-mandatory Constable Board Meeting in Vicksburg. 


  • Heard from Golden Triangle ICS Head Start Director Hazel Randle and Fannie Lampley, also with ICS, on behalf of Eloise McClinton, executive director of ICS. 


  • Took no action in two executive sessions regarding business expansion. 





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