Wiregrass Newsroom: Houston County Approves Increase in Court Costs

By Daniel Curtis - bio | email

Dothan, Ala. (WSFA) -   No matter what the economy does city and county governments must keep operating to provide essential services.

So last week, the Houston County Commission proposed an increase in court costs, but during Mondays meeting some county residents expressed concern over new fees.

Whether it's the slowing economy or uncertainty in financial stability; it was enough to bring some out in opposition of the Houston County Commissions proposal to increase court costs.

"Now is not the time to raise the costs on anything in government," said Malcolm Black, a Dothan resident.

In a 3 to 2 vote the county commission approved an additional $20 fee that will be assessed to those found guilty in criminal and civil cases.

The commissioners voting against the increase said it came at a bad time.  "I'm not saying we don't need these increases but right now is not the time," said District 1 Commissioner Curtis Harvey.

"I'm not convinced that right now is a good time to be passing on fees to someone regardless of what the situation might be," said District 2 Commissioner Bobby Snellgrove.

The bill will be advertised for four weeks before it's brought before the state legislature.  Supporters say this increase was necessary.

"I can see where these monies would be deemed necessary to keep some vital organizations going," said Linda Parrish, a Dothan resident.

If the bill is approved by the state legislature it could be later this year before the new costs take effect.

County officials say the new fees won't be assessed until three months after the governor has signed the bill into law.