Rhonda Humble
Receipts for court fines and fees are running above the budgeted amount in Gardner, despite the fact court fee costs have not been increased since June, 2010.
Receipts for court fines, fees and diversion is running about $386,000 this year compared to 2014 budget projections of about $300,000, said Laura Gurley, finance director.   Gardner court fines are $45 which includes a $20.50 for state assessed law enforcement and judges’ training fund and $24.50 to Gardner court.  Fees are charged to everyone, whether the ticket is paid in person,  by mail or online.
“Fees associated with ticketed offenses are charged to everyone regardless of whether they pay by mail, pay in person prior to court, pay online, or must appear in court,” Gurley said. “We can’t give a discount of those fees if a defendant doesn’t come to court. Further, we can’t charge a defendant more for exercising   their right to legal process.”
For many tickets, such as simple speeding tickets, fines may be paid thru the city’s website at www.municipalonlinepayments.com/gardnerks.
“It’s obviously better customer service if people who can pay online do and avoid coming to court and waiting around for no reason,” Gurley said. “There’s information about the online module on both the city and the Gardner Police Department’s Facebook pages.”
“The city is growing, so we have had an increase in citations,” said Deana Scott, court clerk  “We (court fees)are considerably low compared to other cities,” said Scott.
On average Gardner  handles about  275 citations per month,  Scott said.