Athens Review, Athens, Texas

Local News

November 6, 2012

Commissioners make contract with collection firm

Athens — The Henderson County Commissioners Court approved a contract with a firm to collect delinquent misdemeanor fines and attorney’s fees.

County Attorney Clint Davis said Linebarger, Goggan, Blair & Sampson of San Antonio will provide the service for 30 percent of the amount owed by the defendant, which will be added to the original charge.

Davis said the work of Linebarger will supplement the collection efforts done by his office. Hiring the firm will help offset the loss of two County Attorney’s Office employees, whose positions were eliminated in the 2013 budget, Davis said.

“We get to determine which fees and fines we give them to collect,” Davis said. “We’ll collect those we can collect, then send everything else to them to collect.”

Precinct 1 Commissioner Joe Hall asked if Davis knew the amount of delinquent fees that remains uncollected. Davis estimated the total was about $2.5 million, an amount that has been accumulating since the birth of the county.

“A lot of those defendants are going to be deceased,” Davis said. “Those bills are never washed out or canceled out. You have to look at that total, and ask  how much of the amount is actually collectable.”

Davis thinks there are a few hundred thousand dollars in delinquent fees and fines that might be collectable.

Payments that are more than 60 days overdue are considered delinquent. Davis said the county has the option of continuing to work with a defendant who is making a good faith effort to pay, rather than send it to the collection firm.

“We can continue working with that defendant to get that paid out,” Davis said.

In other action, Commissioners:

• gave authorization to apply for the Indigent Defense Formula Grant;

• approved changes to the personnel manual;

• approved amendments in the county dental plan with Metlife;

• approved purchase of fax machine toner for Justice of the Peace Precinct 1;

• approved purchase of a Tom Tom GPS for Justice of the Peace Precinct 4; and

• approved payment of bills in the amount of $122,547.33.

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