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East Brewton raises court costs

The City of Brewton could see a slight boost in revenue after the council on Monday approved additional fees that would raise municipal court costs to be in line with others in the area.

Brande Agerton, East Brewton’s court clerk, presented information on the proposed increase in the correction’s fund fees.

“If the corrections fund is raised, the total court costs would increase,”

Agerton told the council. “This would raise our fees to the same as Brewton Municipal Court. This is also the same amount used by District Court. We are bound to a maximum to equal what is charged in District Court. Those amounts are set by the judge.”

Agerton said the corrections fund fee for traffic cases is currently at $31.50 but could be raised to $48.50.

The total fees for court costs for traffic cases to $147.

For misdemeanor cases, the corrections fund fee would increase from the current amount of $33 to $93.

Agerton said that change in fee would bring the total charges for misdemeanor cases to $225.

“This is something we need to do to be in line with other courts in the area,” East Brewton Mayor Terry Clark said. “This increase in fees would give the city around $25,000 in additional funds per year based on current numbers.”

A motion to pass the increase in fees was unanimously approved by the council.

Agerton also submitted a list of court dates for the city’s municipal court for the upcoming year.

Court dates for 2011 will be Jan. 11, Feb. 8, March 8, April 12, May 10, June 14, July 12, Aug. 9, Sept. 13, Oct. 11, Nov. 8 and Dec. 13.

In other business, East Brewton fiscal year 2011 budget was approved at $1,356,369.

“There were no major changes in our budget this year,” Clark said. “We have worked hard to get the budget balanced and keep things running as smoothly as possible for the city.”

In the $1.3 budget, the main portion of revenues comes from sales taxes and garbage fees.

Project sales tax revenue is listed at $478,025 with garbage fees project to bring $328,000 into the city’s coffers. Other revenues of more than $100,000 for the city were listed as property taxes at $101,000 and business license fees at $127,989.

Expenses for the city have increased in some areas while others have remained constant.

The largest expenses for the city are insurance for employees, structures and automobiles.

A breakdown of the budget shows $606,259 for administrative expenses; $363,152 or public transportation which includes garbage trucks and other heavy equipment as well as landfill fees and salaries; $218,427 for public safety expenses which includes police department salaries, school patrols, police cars, radios and other supplies; $127,095 for the fire department’s expenses including salaries, payments for a fire truck and other miscellaneous expenses; $41,436 for municipal court expenses including payment for judges, prosecutor.

Also Monday, council members agreed to require residents to obtain a building permit if any structure is to be constructed on their property.

Currently, structures measuring 200 square feet or less in size does not require a building permit. However, Councilman Bob Arrant said any construction should be built to city codes to help eliminate poorly built sheds in the city.

Building permits will not be required of pre-fabricated sheds/buildings are brought to a resident’s property.

The council also approved a request made by Norman Butts to open a game room in a location on U.S. 41 inside the city limits in the former Harvey’s Texaco location.