The Topeka, Kansas, municipal court is close to coming to an agreement with a collection agency that will recoup past-due court fines, the Topeka Capital-Journal reports.
Topeka had previously received help from collections from two agencies to find debtors and collect fines and fees. However, the court decided not to renew its contracts with the firms in January, and has been handling delinquent accounts in-house for the past month. Doing so has eliminated the 30 percent cost of collection that comes with each fine if it's sent to an agency - a significant motivator that has debtors coming from far and wide to make payments. For example, one man from out of town drove to the municipal court to pay $4,000 in overdue court fees dating back to 1999, while a prison inmate wrote the court to request to start making payments. Municipal court administrative judge Vic Miller explained to the media outlet that receipts are up 29 percent in February. He attributes the lack of collection fees, as well as 2011 income tax refunds, as primary catalysts for the uptick. The news source notes in a separate article that the court decided to make the change because it wants collections to be handled entirely under one roof.