Those who have to pay traffic tickets issued by the Rome Police Department will soon be able to do so at the agency’s headquarters, 5 Government Plaza.
A crew from Berry Construction began work early this week on a new service window in the lobby of the Rome-Floyd County Law Enforcement Center that will be home to the city police collections office.
“It’s all part of making some organizational changes,” Rome City Clerk Joe Smith said. “The municipal court will stay in the Law Enforcement Center so anything court- or fine-related with the city will be in one place.”
Expectations are for collections to move from Smith’s office inside City Hall on Jan. 10. The employee who handles collections for the city will then be moved to the new office.
Rome police’s ID services office, which was where the new collections office is going, has been moved around the corner near the municipal courtroom.
Smith said that many times when a person pays a police or traffic fine, there is some interaction with municipal court.
“Now, we have to get on the phone and call back and forth in order to get anything cleared up,” Smith said. “So this will make it more convenient for the general public and more effective operationally.”
The remodeling stretches into the interior of the building as a new wall and double doors are being installed on the first floor, just opposite the hallway to the municipal courtroom.
“The reason for that is to secure access to the rest of the building,” Smith said. “There is really no reason for the public to be in that part unless someone from the police department takes them back there.”
The total cost of the work is $10,095 and is being paid by the city. Smith said they do not expect any additional operating costs in the future because of the changes.
“We may actually realize some cost-savings as time goes by,” Smith said.
All of this is occurring at the same time that the city is making a lateral move — placing Municipal Court Chief Clerk Lori Whorton-Spence and her group of employees under the city clerk’s office instead of the police department.
“We’ve found that it’s not uncommon for cities to separate those responsibilities,” Smith said. “We’ve worked very closely with them for years so this is not anything new for us.”
The moves were represented in the 2014 city budgets approved by the Rome City Commission last month.