Fewer Bad Checks is Bad News for Budgets

7 years 4 months 3 weeks ago Tuesday, December 28 2010 Dec 28, 2010 Tuesday, December 28, 2010 6:43:02 PM CST December 28, 2010 in News
FULTON - When funding cuts from the state made it more difficult to finance the prosecutor's office, Prosecuting Attorney Bob Sterner, along with attorneys around the state, turned to the service fees from hot checks to supplement his budget. Almost 20 years later, that well is almost dry. Sterner says the well is dry because of the decline in the use of checks in general.

For every check under $100, the fee is $25; for every check from $100 to $250, the fee is $50, and for every check greater than $250 the fee is 10% of the face value up to $75. This has allowed Callaway's prosecutor to buy things such as new computers, as well as supplement salaries. Sterner says that while the market is good, using the fees was a good idea for small expenses, but when it turned poor he needed it for other things.   

"It's not such a good idea to use them for recurring expenses," he said. "It's a better idea to use them for one expense. Only when I saw us  not being able to keep with with the market for salaries did I start to use them to supplement salaries."

 According to the county auditor, the amount of money coming into the office from the fees is less than half of what is used to be due to more people using debit cards than checks when they shop. Unless this changes, Sterner and his office will have to find another way to fully fund prosecutions.

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