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MUNICIPAL FINES, COURT COSTS, AND FACTS
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It has been brought up and discussed a couple different times about court fines in Irmo. Some people seem to have trouble understanding, even to the point of making matters worse by quoting stuff someone said that isn't accurate. So let's just start with the basics.

There are violations set by the State of South Carolina, and they set the fines. You read about it all the time. Conviction of a certain violation has a maximum fine of X amount of dollars or maximum days/years in jail.

The State of SC, by law, has said that municipalities (Irmo and the other 245) cannot charge more than a $500 fine or 30 days in jail for a municipal violation. If we charge someone a $500 fine which is the maximum we are allowed to charge, then we must collect $1087.50 in order to pay to the State their charges they mandate we must collect. Depending upon whether the charge is a traffic ticket violation or a criminal violation, there are different amounts we must collect on top of the charged fine.

See the Court Charges chart below. The first column are the actual Municipal Court fines, the second column is what must be collected in order to pay the additional fees to the State of South Carolina. There is a breakdown for traffic violations and criminal violations.


TRAFFIC


CRIMINAL

25.00

76.88

25.00

101.88

30.00

87.25

30.00

122.63

35.00

97.63

40.00

133.00

40.00

108.00

45.00

143.38

45.00

118.38

50.00

153.75

50.00

128.75

60.00

174.50

55.00

139.13

75.00

205.63

60.00

149.50

100.00

257.50

65.00

159.88

125.00

309.38

75.00

180.63

150.00

361.25

100.00

232.50

175.00

413.13

125.00

284.38

187.96

440.02

150.00

336.25

200.00

465.00

175.00

388.13

225.00

516.88

200.00

440.00

250.00

568.75

225.00

491.88

290.00

651.75

250.00

543.75

300.00

672.50

300.00

647.50

350.00

776.25

350.00

751.25

400.00

880.00

400.00

855.00

450.00

983.75

500.00

1062.50

500.00

1087.50


550.00

1191.25

600.00

1295.00

650.00

1398.75

700.00

1502.50

750.00

1606.25

800.00

1710.00

850.00

1813.75

900.00

1917.50

950.00

2021.25

1000.00

2125.00

1500.00

3162.50

2000.00

4200.00

2500.00

5237.50

When we write the code violations to citizens, if the maximum fine is $500, then we put on the abatement notice the total amount to be collected in order to show the total that would have to be collected in order to cover the State mandated fees. This allows the citizen to know what the maximum fee total might be. Not just to the town, but to the Town and State as well. We don't have to do that, we just feel it is a better policy to let people know prior to court.

I have also included some financials below to give a better picture of the monies and what happens. This is for the month of April 2018.

Total collected by the Town                                                    $ 32,125.15

Total sent to State of SC                                                          16,404.25      = 51%

Remaining Amount                                                                   15,720.90

Amount Retained by the Town for Victim Services                       1,951.40

Remaining $'s to Town's General Fund                                      13,769.50     approx 43%


Roughly 43% of every dollar, of every fine in our courtroom, goes to the Town general fund, the rest goes to the State, or where the State mandates.


Breakdown of where the State's money goes from April 2018:


Public Defenders Application Fees (indigent)                       $     40.00

Municipal Discharge Fee                                                         150.00

DUS/DPS Pullout (goes to another agency)                              717.74

DUI Surcharge                                                                        188.24

DUI/DPS Pullout (goes to another agency)                               188.24

DUI Breathalyzer test                                                                37.28

Municipal Drug Surcharges                                                      853.97

Municipal Law Enforcement Surcharge                                  2,800.87

Criminal Justice Academy                                                         16.88

Municipal (107.5%)                                                              11,388.44

                                                                                        $16,404.25

These are the fees that the state mandates us to collect on their behalf on top of the municipal fines that we are allowed to charge. We have to pay an individual who helps in our court to make sure every month the State gets their money. We don't get reimbursed for any of this employee cost.

There is a State law that says the General Assembly is to place 4.5% of the preceding year's general fund into an account called the Local Government Fund. That money is to be distributed back to the county governments and municipal governments to help offset the cost of all the States unfunded mandates.

For the last 10 or more years, the General Assembly has done a proviso that allows them to ignore the State statute, and they have shorted that fund approximately 30% each year, and again this year in their budget. To Irmo that equates about a hundred and some thousand dollars. In my mind, this is the equivalent of Congress taking money out of the Social Security Fund to balance their budget.

The money that comes into the Town of Irmo from our municipal court goes into our general fund to pay general fund expenses, i.e. administrative costs, public works, the police department, our parks, and maintenance, water and electric bill, etc. etc. The money we pay to the State, well, you would have to ask the State, or your Elected State Officials what they do with that money, and where it goes. We have no clue, I have no clue, they just tell us to collect it, and we just send it, and they won't even pay us a fee or percentage to do that.  Yet, any monies they collect on behalf of municipalities they want to keep a portion of it for their handling cost.  I guess what is good for the goose, isn't always good for the gander.  But as you know, it should be. Right is right, and if it is not, it's wrong.

RE-ELECT HARDY KING FOR IRMO'S MAYOR
2019