The cost of going to jail will soon go up, as will the cost of getting court summonses and arrest warrants served.
At a special meeting this week, the cash-strapped Letcher Fiscal Court approved the first reading of two new ordinances designed to raise funds through jail booking and other fees.
Letcher County Attorney Jamie Hatton conducted the first reading of the ordinances to increase facility fees for the county jail and to raise court-related costs, and the court voted unanimously to approve both. Neither will go into county budget, but will be used in the respective facilities, which will offset money spent by the county.
The court costs ordinance will increase fees and costs in several areas. A fee of $25 will be added to court costs in civil cases in Letcher Circuit Court. A cost of $25 is added to the court costs a defendant is required to pay in criminal cases in Circuit Court. A cost of $25 is added to filing fees in Circuit Court in civil cases appealed to the Court of Appeals. A cost of $10 is added to court costs for each traffic offense in District Court. A fee of $10 is added to filing fees in probate cases in District Court. A cost of $20 is added to court costs a defendant is required to pay in misdemeanor cases in Letcher District Court. A fee of $10 is added to filing fees in small claims cases in District Court. A fee of $10 is added to filing fees in civil cases in District Court.
The ordinance also includes fees for service of subpoenas and civil summons by the Letcher County Sheriff. A fee of $10 is added to fees normally charged by the local sheriff to the person requesting service of a subpoena. A fee of $10 is added to the fees normally charged by the local sheriff to the person requesting service of a civil summons.
Fees and copays for the Letcher County Jail were also raised — booking fee, increased from $25. to $50; bond fee, increased from $5 to $20; doctor copay, stays at $25 if the doctor comes to the jail. Emergency room copay increases from $25 to $50. Ambulance copay, increases from $25 to $50; dental copay, $25 if inmate is taken to the free mobile clinic; pharmacy copay, $25 if the prescription is $25 or more, if it is less than $25, then it is the cost of the prescription; work release fee, $10 per day. This applies to a personal job when the judge releases inmates to leave the jail to work their own job and then return. The jail collected $23,551.26 in such fees and copays in 2015-16.