Union Springs resurrects municipal court system
UNION SPRINGS, AL (WSFA) - Union Springs brought back its municipal court system in November, and the verdict is it's working.
The new city court is currently using the district courtroom on the second floor of the Bullock County Courthouse.
"That indicates to me we did the right thing," said Mayor Saint Thomas.
The mayor credits Police Chief Danny Jackson for pushing the idea.
"Union Springs didn't have a municipal court for 30 years. I talked with some of the council members and they were all on board with it," Jackson said.
Court sessions are held at night twice a month.
"The majority of our citizens work during the day and in order for them to come to court they would have to leave their jobs," Thomas said.
The town invested $50,000 to get it started. That was enough to pay personnel costs for five people including the judge who works as an attorney during the day.
Tiffanie Blakely serves as the clerk.
"Usually on the docket there are 35 cases," Blakely said.
The mayor says for now the city court system is breaking even.
He admitted the city has yet to recover its initial investment but believes it will in due time.
The average cost per ticket is anywhere from $150 to $200, but not all of it goes to the city.
For example, Bullock County gets $50 from each ticketed traffic violation and then you factor in the added fees such as court costs.
Before long something like speeding becomes an expensive lesson to learn in Union Springs.
The judge often works out a payment plan with the offender.
"It's up to the judge if he wants to put them on payment plan," Blakely said.
Thomas said he couldn't recall exactly why municipal court was discontinued years ago but was told the area above the police department had become outdated and didn't meet changing building codes at the time such as an elevator.
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