By CATHY MOUNCE, Register Staff Writer
In ten days, city officials will turn $850,000 in delinquent fines over to a collection agency unless citizens pay what they owe.
“We urge anyone that has outstanding Class C misdemeanor fines older than 60 days to voluntarily come in and settle up before additional costs are added, “ said Gainesville Chief City Marshal Keith Rigsby.
Rigsby also announced that the delinquent fines that are not cleared up in a timely manner will be turned over to the newly appointed collection agency, McCreary, Veselka, Bragg & Allen, P.C. (MVBA) of Round Rock.
Plans to partner with a collection agency were approved by the Gainesville City Council in December 2012 at no additional cost to the city or taxpayers.
Under state legislature law 103.0031, courts are allowed to assess a collection fee of 30 percent over and above any fines collected from each defendant. The agency keeps the fee and the city gets the revenue from the fine.
After investigating several different companies, MVBA came highly recommended and was chosen as the best fit in providing professional assistance to the city, Rigsby noted. MVBA has been in existence for 50 years and is also currently working with the utility collections in the city of Gainesville.
“We are very pleased to partner up with Gainesville, Texas, and the marshal’s office, to tailor a collection program to meet the specific needs of this city,” said Julie Morgan, director of client services.
Rigsby said, “Class C misdemeanor defendants still have 30 days to make restitution. After 30 days, warrants are issued. Arrest warrants do not go away.
The longer someone waits to take care of their fine, the more expensive it gets.”
Rigsby added, “Of course extenuating circumstances exist but please come in and communicate with us so we can have a better understanding of each situation.”
Debtors can make restitution at 201 Santa Fe Street in Gainesville.