Council considers upping failure-to-appear fee
by Emily McLain
Feb 17, 2014 | 1004 views |  0 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print
SYLACAUGA - The chief municipal court clerk proposed increasing the failure-to-appear warrant recall fee at a City Council work session Monday night.

When a defendant fails to appear in court on their assigned date, a warrant is issued for their arrest; however, they currently have the option to pay a $22 fee to have that warrant waived and their court date rescheduled.

Clerk Ken Sisk suggested raising that fee from $22 to $100, with the funds collected going into the corrections fund.

“What that does is keeps the defendant from being arrested, having to make bond, pay a bond fee and then facing court, a fine in and of itself of $358, plus either a $60 bonding fee or a $135 fee,” Sisk said. “In other words, it saves the defendant approximately $400 and, rather than $22, it gives us $100 into the corrections fund. It helps the court and the defendant. It’s a win-win.”

Sisk said the change would require a legislative act, and Sen. Jerry Fielding, R-Sylacauga, is in full support. He said it could possibly be passed during this legislative session, but there is a period required to advertise the change.

Other cities in the state, including Birmingham, Hoover and Calera, also have a $100 fee, Sisk said.

Council members appeared in agreement that the fee increase would benefit the city. Council president Rocky Lucas said he would contact Fielding and discuss the next steps.

The council also discussed purchasing a new street sweeper. The city had $125,000 financed for the equipment last year, but actual costs for street sweepers came in much higher.

Mayor Doug Murphree said the street department has located a used, 2007 model sweeper that would total about $158,000. “If we’re going to buy a street sweeper, I don’t think we’ll find a better one than this one,” he said.

Lucas said he would like to investigate financing options for the additional $33,000 that would be incurred.

In other business, the council:

O Heard City Clerk Patricia Carden say attorney David Stubbs is owed about $6,000 for services provided thus far in the lawsuit brought against the city by Creekside Apartments.

O Heard Murphree announce: citywide cleanup day is April 5; the city will pay $2,500 to the Miss Teen Alabama pageant; and Comer Museum needs a special event permit for its first chili cook-off and car show fundraiser March 8.

O Heard Lucas say the Planning Commission requested approval to rename a portion of Forrest Drive to Bleacher Johnston Drive; however, street signs only fit 18 characters, including spaces, so the council decided to ask the commission for a shorter name.

O Heard a financial report from accounting manager Karen Beane. So far this fiscal year, city expenses total about $4.5 million and revenue totals $5.3 million.

O Reviewed the agenda for tonight’s meeting at 6 p.m. at City Hall.

O Heard Lucas acknowledge that the local television station, TV47, had a camera recording the work session. “We’ll try this on for tonight, and we’ll decide later if we want that to keep happening,” he said.

Contact Emily McLain at emclain@dailyhome.com.