DA’s office not affected by check fee decrease

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, October 15, 2003

Despite budget woes caused by withering worthless check fees in other Alabama counties, Butler County’s District Attorney John Andrews said our county hasn’t suffered the same fate.

Reports from counties, such as Montgomery, show a significant decrease in revenue from worthless check fees. Montgomery reported a 14 percent drop from 2001 to 2002.

The decrease is credited to citizens’ increased usage of debit and check cards when paying bills or purchasing goods, reducing the number of worthless checks finding their way to the DA’s office.

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The decrease hits county district attorneys’ offices at a time when their budgets are being cut due to the state’s budget shortfalls.

However, Andrews said Butler County isn’t experiencing a mentionable decrease in worthless checks.

&uot;We don’t have that many worthless checks coming to my office to start with,&uot; he said. &uot;The county’s worthless check unit hasn’t seen a significant change in the amount of fees collected so far.&uot;

The Butler County worthless check unit charges the check writer the amount of the check, a bank fee of $30 and a collection fee of $141, if the writer pays the check within the allotted time after the DA notifies them of the check.

If the writer doesn’t respond, the check is turned over to the district court. There the check writer is charged the amount of the check, the bank fee and court costs of $548.10, which includes the DA’s collection fee.

Andrews said that he knows the fee problem is substantial for other counties.

&uot;I know of several DAs who are having a huge problem,&uot; he said.

The district attorney said his office is frugal with the department’s money.

&uot;We don’t have a lot of projects either,&uot; he said. &uot;It might become a problem for us later, but not right now.&uot;