Court costs are about to go up in the Smithville Municipal Court but the increase will help the police department upgrade to a new court management computer software system.
During Monday night’s meeting, the aldermen adopted an ordinance on first reading to raise the city court costs. The current fees associated with traffic violations, etc. are $85 per violation and a $13.75 litigation tax levied by the state. The new fee would be $100 per citation, a $15 increase.
Although the new Courtware Government Software Solutions system is free to the city, the cost of the software by the provider will be be passed along to violators in the form of the increased court costs.
Police Chief Mark Collins said the new Courtware System will save the city money, simplify the city’s court processing procedures, and provide offenders the option of paying their fines and court costs online.
“We (city) pay $2,000 a year just to have the system we’re using now. The new one is free to the city but will be paid for by offenders who are found guilty of speeding and traffic offenses. Ten dollars out of their court costs will go to this courtware system to pay for it. It creates more ways to pay a ticket. We do not have a pay online system now. With this new system people can pay online," said Chief Collins.
In addition to online fine payment, other software features include an online court calendar, digital documents, fund calculations, automatic dispositions, simple docket scheduling, statistical data that can be helpful to the police department, and more.
The ordinance increasing the court costs will be considered for passage on second and final reading by the aldermen next month.