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Pickering: Thousands of dollars owed by cities and counties in Mississippi

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The Mississippi State Auditor’s Office has been going through records of counties and towns around the state and found – 43 counties and 120 municipalities have not paid their assessment money to the state.

Assessments are extra fines on a ticket that are commonly collected in association with traffic violations and misdemeanor offenses and are required by state law to be deposited with the State Treasurer on a monthly basis The money goes to fund programs like the fallen officer’s fund and Crime Stoppers.

Stacey Pickering’s office began reviewing collections of these assessments about a year ago, but the collections date back several years.

They have been able to collect $383,463.25, but there are thousands more still unaccounted for.

For example:

  • Raleigh owes $47,076
  • Shaw owes $14,935
  • Coahoma County needs to pay $18,668

Tchula owes nearly $69,000. But as Mr. Pickering says, that money may be hard to collect.

Pickering said he is aware of many other municipal and county governments failing to properly deposit assessment fees and has been reviewing this process for approximately one year. During these reviews, over $350,000 has been identified and deposited. He said he anticipates hundreds of thousands more dollars to be properly submitted before the completion of the audit review process.

While formal demands have not been issued yet, each entity has thirty days to properly submit the assessment funds to the Treasurer’s Office. If those funds have not been submitted in that timeframe, a formal demand will be issued and if it goes unpaid, the case will then be given to the Attorney General’s office to seek prosecution for the funds.

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