By RICK HAYES firstname.lastname@example.org
---- — MT. VERNON — Fines and fees ordered by the court in Jefferson County can now be paid with credit or debit cards or online through a private service.
Circuit Clerk John Scott said the new service is being provided through GOVPAYNET.
"That's one of the advantages of going to conferences and circuit clerk meetings. That's where you find out more information," Scott explained. "The lady that represents the company has a booth set up at every circuit clerk meeting so I got to talking to her, and then contacted other clerks that use the service to get their feedback. They were all pleased with it, so then I took a day off and went to Washington County to see it in action. We got the ball rolling and got it installed."
The representative trained Scott's staff on Sept. 13 and the program went into effect on Sept. 16.
"They can pay in the office with a swipe of their card. When they swipe it, the program automatically comes up on a computer screen. Then my clerks fill in the name, the traffic citation (or felony/misdemeanor), it automatically processes it and they are given a receipt. We then get confirmation of the transaction by e-mail and facsimile. That way we get confirmation that it's been accepted," Scott said.
He added, "We do not have to handle cash, it saving our clerks time, and it's automatically deposited into our general account."
Scott said the service has been popular since it was implemented.
"I had three (confirmations) this morning. We're getting three or four a day," he said.
The program allows individuals living outside of Jefferson County to pay tickets without having to visit the circuit clerk's office.
"When they pay online or by phone we no longer have to generate a receipt. It's saving paper and ink, and saving time for our clerks. What I'm hoping is that as the word gets it, the more it grows," Scott said. "We're already seeing a growth spurt in the short time it's been offered."
The program is at no cost to the county or clerk's office. The online service is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week by logging onto www.govpaynow.com or calling 1-888-604-7888.