Cook Probate Court cashes in on unpaid citations | News
COOK COUNTY, GA- Taxpayers in Cook County got a windfall Tuesday.
The probate court focused on collecting unpaid traffic fines, and that work paid off.
Tuesday, the court transferred $110,000 in collections to the county.
It was quite a large check, in more than one way, that was presented from the probate court to the Cook County Board of Commissioners.
It all started when the judge found out about unpaid citations.
"When I took office in 2009, we realized we had about $700,000 in unpaid traffic fines in the probate court," said Cook County Probate Judge Chase Daughtrey. "We worked with the Board of Commissioners. We entered into a contract with SC services with Pioneer Credit Recovery."
The Board says the court has done a great job collecting the money for taxpayers, but they don't know what they will do with it.
"The Board's plan for the money is that we are using it for the shortfalls in the budget and the different areas in the county. Everybody know we are under hard economic times," said Brett Kelly, chairman of the Cook County Board of Commissioners. "So, right now, the money hasn't been directly earmarked for anything."
How have they done it? The court lets a company in Florida do the legwork to retrieve the money. In the courthouse, there are boxes of unpaid citations. The probate court is trying to turn years of documents into money.
"There are about 4,000 cases that are totally outstanding," said Daughtrey. "We've been able to collect 800 of those thus far. It dates back for several, several years. Some of the fines are low. Some are higher as the fines have increased over the years."
And they are also trying to make sure unpaid citations don't continue to get backlogged. Even if your infraction just happened, they could be coming for you.
"If you don't show up for court next month, and we issue a failure to appear fine, we issue a bench warrant, or a license suspension, we automatically send that case to SC services of pioneer recovery so they can go ahead and get collections on it," said Daughtrey.
And Cook County says they will keep going after them.
The probate court says there are still more than a half million dollars worth of unpaid citations out there, and they intend to recover that money too.
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