Friday, May 20, 2016

Criminal Ct Clerk: $1M lost because office collected wrong jail fee

For almost two decades, the Knox County Criminal Court Clerk’s Office charged and collected the wrong jail fee amount.

As a result the county lost out on at least $1 million.

The problem was discovered earlier this week and fixed Thursday morning.

“For 19 years we have not been charging what the law says we should be charging,” Criminal Court Clerk Mike Hammond said.

In July 1997, the Knox County Board of Commissioners passed a resolution raising the daily jail fee for those incarcerated from $46.20 to $50.

However, the criminal court clerk’s office never acknowledged the increase.

“Realistically, or conservatively, I should say, we believe the county has missed out on over a $1 million,” Hammond said. “And it’s more than that, but that’s the conservative number.”

Hammond, who took office in September 2014, said he asked his chief of staff, Richard Major, to look at all fees his office charges and collects and to make sure the costs are in line with state and local law.

Major discovered the error on Wednesday.

“You look at well over $1 million and that’s money that could go toward this new safety center (for the mentally ill) that they’re talking about,” Hammond said. “Or it could go to jail improvements, or it could go to the sheriff’s department to buy additional supplies or things for the jail system.”

Moving forward, Hammond said, he expects jail fee collections to bring in an additional $50,000 to $60,000 in revenues for the Knox County Sheriff’s Office.

Rest of story HERE.

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