EDITORIAL: Collecting Fines

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Most of us have probably “run afoul of the law” and been given a citation that we were required to pay or hauled into court and justice served with a more hefty fee and fine.

The good folks of this world, admit their blunder, promise the judge they will be more careful and pay their fine.

But there are some people in Chickasaw County who admit their infraction, promise the judge anything and then pay the court nothing.

That is not right and that is not justice.

We were glad to see the City of New Houlka start notifying people who owe a court fines that they need to pay up or they could face additional charges and additional fees and fines.

Houlka Police Chief Ray Laney has sent out several hundred letters to people across northeast Mississippi reminding them they owe the town a fine or court fees and asking them to contact the city and make arrangements for payment.

Houlka is owed about $23,000 in unpaid fees and fines. That is a tidy sum for a town their size.

If all those fine were paid, Houlka could look at quickly building a football field for the Wildcats, do needed repairs at the Community Center, hire a dog catcher and probably find a pothole or two that needs patching.

Deep pockets solve a lot of this world’s problems.

And the Chickasaw Journal urges the towns of Houston, Okolona and Woodland to look at their list of unpaid fines. Chickasaw County as a whole will probably be very surprised at the dollars in unpaid fines that are out there, too.

We would like to point out Houlka police are not writing more tickets to generate revenue. These fines are being collected from people who have already been convicted, sentenced and fined by the court.

Yes, this will need to be a concerted effort.

Aldermen and supervisors will need to put someone in charge of contacting those with unpaid fines. City and county leaders need to urge city and county judges to issue bench warrants for those who won’t pay. Law enforcement will need to serve those warrants and haul the offender back into court.

We hope smart people will just pay the debt they owe society.

We hope that revenue will be used to make our city and county a better place to live.

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