MURFREESBORO, Tenn. -- The Rutherford County Circuit Court Clerk’s Office has collected more than $1 million in fees and court costs since establishing a collections division, as of the end of October, officials recently announced.
“It is the duty of the Rutherford County clerk to collect all court costs and fees assessed in all cases before the … courts in Rutherford County,” said Laura Bohling, who serves as clerk. “That’s why I created the collections division so that we can address this constitutional requirement through a more direct approach.”
Bohling, who is up for re-election next year, said the office has four full-time employees working solely on collections so that the monies owed are paid to the county.
“The concerted efforts of the collections staff have had great success in reducing lost revenue caused by non-payment of court ordered fines and fees.” she said. “Our hope is that we will give those facing paying back court costs a simpler way to complete the process and get themselves out of the legal system.”
The office can set up voluntary payment agreements with defendants to help break down large costs to more manageable payments, she said.
Money assessed in all court activity actually funds the operations of the court system, including the County Court Clerk’s Office, and operations of judges, prosecutors and public defenders, with excess fees turned over to the Rutherford County general fund.
Bohling implemented the collections division in May 2011.
During the fiscal year 2012, collections totaled $371,241, while the 2013 fiscal year saw $467,923 in collections.
Through the first four months of this fiscal year, the office has collected more than $245,000, resulting in a total of $1.08 million in collections since the department’s creation.