Como Board hires firm to collect unpaid fines 8/19/2014

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Como Board hires firm to collect unpaid fines

By John Howell

If you owe old fines or water bills to the Town of Como, watch out. You may soon hear from Mississippi Warrant Network.

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Como aldermen in a 3 to 1 vote August 12 hired the collection service to go after fines unpaid for six months or more.

Mississippi Warrant Network representative Tanna Coleman spoke to Mayor Everette Hill and the four aldermen who attended — Teresa Dishmon, Sonia Heard, Rachel Powell and John Walton — soliciting the town’s debt collection business.

Coleman said that state law allows the network to add 25 percent to the outstanding total for Mississippi residents and 50 percent to the total for out-of-state residents. Mississippi Warrant Network takes 25 percent of the total collected as its fee, she said.

“This is just extra money coming into your town,” she said.

The old fines are paid directly to the town, and the town is billed monthly based on what has been collected, Coleman said. Mississippi Warrant Network collects from about seven out of ten old debts owed to municipalities, she said.

“There (are) some people who just don’t get (any) income,” Alderwoman Rachel Powell said.

“But there are some that do,” Coleman replied, “and that money that we can get we’re going to try to get for you.”

“What if somebody is financially in a bind?” a member of the audience asked. “If people are trying, at what point will you turn them over?

“If people are trying, we won’t turn them over,” Mayor Everette Hill said.

“If you’re making a payment that’s different,” Alderwoman Dishmon said. “If you haven’t made a payment in two or three years, that’s a whole another thing.”

“We will work with people,” Coleman said. “If I see or my company sees that you’re making an effort, we will suggest that you set up a payment plans with the clerk.”

Aldermen voted three to one to employ Mississippi Warrant Network with Alderwoman Powell dissenting.

At the July meeting of Como’s mayor and aldermen, CPA Atris Niter Jr. presented an audited statement of cash receipts and disbursements that stated the town received fine revenue of $71,820 from Oct. 1, 2012 through Sept. 30, 2013.