More people paying under Selah's new collection system

SELAH, Wash. -- Selah police are making a point to enforce traffic laws in school zones after complaints from parents about speeders.

The result is more tickets coming into the city's court.

In fact, the city added 14-hours a week to the administrator's schedule to handle the workload.

Selah Court Administrator Andrew Paschen now sees almost 100 tickets and other cases filed a month, which is nearly double last year's monthly average.

The challenge is getting those tickets and court fees into Selah's bank account.

In the past, the court says it wasn't always easy to get people to pay up, but a new collections agency is helping do just that, and is bringing in more money for the city.

It's a tougher system to get the cash and was put in place at the end of last year.

People now have 30 days to either pay their tickets in full or set up payments.

If you don't, the ticket automatically goes to collection, along with an additional fee and suspension of license.

"There a lot more fines being assessed, a lot more people coming in and paying tickets right off," said Selah Court Administrator Andrew Paschen.

Under the old system, the court had to monitor payments.

People who couldn't come up with the money were sent to collection but the city says it sometimes took more than a year to get paid.

Administrators say about $800,000 went uncollected for more than a decade.

"We received approximately $4,000 more per month than we did last year," said Selah Treasurer Dale Novobielski.

The city says it's already seen about $16,000 in increased revenue so far this year.

"If this continues for the remainder of the the year, we should end up with approximately $44,000 in revenue for our general fund," said Novobielski.

Money that can be put to use at a time when budgets for police and the courts around the Valley are under pressure.

Selah's Municipal court is also considering expanding its hours to handle the increased caseload.