The Piatt County board on May 8 approved an updated schedule of circuit clerk fees – and how those funds will be distributed among state and county agencies.
Circuit Clerk Seth Floyd said the fees and fines are similar to those in the past, but that updates were needed due to a new state law that takes effect on July 1.
The Illinois General Assembly legislation means a loss of revenue for the county, as the state is taking a bigger cut to help fund some of its departments, including line items for state police efforts.
“Legislation was passed to overhaul the entire system,” said Floyd. “Unfortunately, a lot of the fallout from this is the state is pulling more money out of funds we were getting before, and established new funds.”
“The fees are comparable to not only what we had in the past in most instances, but an average of what we have in neighboring counties as well,” he added.
Floyd said more funds for state police through a new State Police Operations Assistance Fund could mean less for local law enforcement, noting the Piatt County Sheriff’s Office is designated to receive less dollars in areas such as DUI fines and fees. For example, the sheriff’s department will receive about 50 percent less in fine money from a DUI arrest than they currently do, adding up to about a $5,000-$6,000 estimated loss, said Floyd.
The new state police fund will now get $330 per DUI conviction, something that is not allocated currently.
Floyd was not sure yet how much less the county would keep overall with the new fee structure.
The fee schedule spells out how much each entity receives from each fee and fine. For example, the $549 paid for generic felony offenses is split between the state ($195) and county ($354), with the county’s share funding the circuit clerk automation fund, document storage fund, operation and administration fund (total $45); the county general fund ($255), the county general miscellaneous fund ($10), State’s Attorney records automation fund and public defender records automation funds ($2 each), the county jail medical costs fund ($20) and the probation and court services fund ($20).
On a more positive note, Floyd said the attention brought to the passport service his office provides has prompted “more people coming in now” for the service. The State Department had initially told the county it would no longer be able to process passports, but after an appeal by Floyd and pressure from area U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis, the decision was reversed.
In other action, the county board approved the appointment of Michael Morgan to the county board of review.