When court fines go uncollected, it hurts property taxpayers who must fund local court costs.
But now, thanks to a recent approval by the New Jersey Courts, Hamilton will begin to alleviate some of the burden on its law-abiding taxpayers by recouping unpaid court fines with the help of a private collection agency.
Starting soon, TaxServ Capital Services will begin efforts to collect unpaid fines dating back to 1989. Of those unpaid fines, up to $1.15 million should have been paid to Hamilton Township, while another $1.45 million of uncollected fines would have gone to State or County agencies, if collected. This is because many fines issued through Hamilton’s local court are required, by State Law, to go to a specific State or County agency.
“As Mayor, I do not want to see our law-abiding Hamilton taxpayers shoulder a greater burden of our local court costs when some individuals have been fined and have not paid the fees they owe,” explains Hamilton Township Mayor Yaede. “But even beyond the benefit to our local residents, this measure would also assist the State of New Jersey’s budgetary challenges.”
Back in 2016, Mayor Yaede began working to try to find a better way to collect unpaid fines for the benefit of local taxpayers. Through a competitive process, Hamilton Township sought bids in which collection agencies would return 100 percent of outstanding fines collected to either the Township or the other respective governments required to collect the fees (i.e. State, County, etc.).
For its efforts, the successful collection agency would assess a surcharge, so that it would not come out of the collected fine revenue. TaxServ Capital Services was selected because it provided the lowest surcharge of responding collection agencies (20 %).
However, after Hamilton completed the selection process, the town had to wait for approval from the New Jersey Courts before it could begin the new program. Just recently, Hamilton’s Court Director received notification that the effort was approved by the Administrative Office of the Courts.