Catoosa County will soon change how it pays court jurors by switching from the issuance of checks to that of debit cards.
During the most recent Board of Commissioner's meeting on Nov. 21, County Attorney Chad Young presented the commission with the proposal of replacing checks with debit cards as a way of helping things flow easier in the Clerk of Court's office.
"This is at the request of Tracy Brown, clerk of Superior Court and State Court," Young said. "What this agreement will do is streamline and make her process for paying jurors more efficient. The county is required to pay jurors per day a certain per diem that is set by law based on the number of days of service. Up until this point, the clerk has just historically manually issued checks that each juror. ... If any of you have had the pleasure of serving over there on a busy court day, it's kind of mass chaos."
Young also suggested that debit cards would be a quicker way of keeping the books regarding juror pay.
"This will allow her to issue prepaid debit cards to a juror for the amount they're due on a card," Young said. "That way, when a card is loaded, whether the juror spends it, how they spend it, or where they spend it. ... It's up to them, and the clerk doesn't have anymore responsibility. The clerk doesn't have to worry about checks being out there that haven't been cashed and things of that nature."
The commission unanimously approve an agreement with Rapid Financial Solutions for its court card program.
"It's a month-to-month agreement that can be terminated at any time, and there's a small fee of something like 49 cents per card to load the card, which is included in the clerk's budget," Young said.
County Chief Financial Officer Carl Henson said that in addition to being more efficient, the new protocol will also save the clerk's office money in the long run.
"It costs less than the processing of a check," Henson said.