(A)   Manner of collection.
      (1)   Unless discharged by payment, fines, costs, penalties and litigation taxes due may be collected in the same manner as a judgment in a civil action, but shall not be deemed part of the penalty, and no person shall be imprisoned for being in default solely of payment of costs and/or litigation taxes.
      (2)   The following shall be the allocation formula for moneys paid into Court: the first moneys paid in any case shall first be credited toward payment of litigation taxes and, once litigation taxes have been paid, the next moneys shall be credited toward payment of costs; then, additional moneys shall be credited toward payment of the fine.
   (B)   Methods of collection. The City Attorney may, in such person’s discretion, and shall, upon order of the Court, institute proceedings to collect the debt as a civil judgment. In addition to all other remedies for collecting amounts owed to the city, the City Clerk is authorized to employ the services of a collection agency to collect amounts owed to the City Court. The contract between the municipality and the collection agency must be put out for bid annually and the contract must be in writing. The written contract shall include a provision specifying whether the agency may institute an action to collect fines and costs in a judicial proceeding.
      (1)   If an amount owed to the city is not paid in full within 60 days of the date on which the amount becomes due, the Clerk shall send written notice, by regular or certified mail return receipt requested, to the debtor at the debtor’s last known address according to the city’s records. The notice shall state the amount owed in fines, costs and litigation taxes, if any. The right to receive such notice shall be waived by a debtor if the debtor signs an agreement requesting additional time to pay.
      (2)   If the amount owed to the city is not paid in full within 30 days of the date of the notice or the date stated in the request for additional time, the city may refer the debt to a collection agency to collect the outstanding amount owed to the city and the collection agency services fee.
      (3)   The collection agency may be paid an amount not exceeding 40% of the sums collected as consideration for collecting the fines and costs, pursuant to Tenn. Code Ann. § 40-24-105(d)(2).
   (C)   Penalties for non-payment of checks or money orders. If any check or money order so received is not duly paid, in addition to other penalties provided by law, the person who tendered such check or money order shall pay a penalty, upon written notice and demand by the Clerk, in an amount permitted by law.
   (D)   Payment by credit or debit card; processing fees.
      (1)   As used in this division (D), unless the context otherwise requires, CREDIT CARD has the same meaning as defined in Tenn. Code Ann. § 47-22-101, and DEBIT CARD has the same meaning as defined in Tenn. Code Ann. § 39-14-102(3).
      (2)   The Clerk is authorized to receive payment by credit card or debit card for any public fines, fees or other moneys collected.
      (3)   Processing fees are 3%.
      (4)   (a)   If a payment by credit card is not honored by the credit card company issuing the card or, if a payment by a debit card is not honored by the entity on which the funds are drawn, the Clerk may collect a service charge from the person who owes the fee, fine, penalty, interest or other charge, for processing the transaction.
         (b)   The amount of the service charge shall be the same amount as the processing fee charged in division (D)(3) above.
(Ord. 671, passed 5-29-2007)