WAVELAND, MS (WLOX) - A new program at Waveland's court department is helping people pay off fines in a different way.
The community service program is now six months old, and nearly 50 people have already taken advantage of what city leaders call a win-win — a chance to work off fees and fines owed to the Waveland Court Department.
Picking up trash from the roadsides. Sweeping a floor or doing windows. No matter what the job, it's $10 an hour for every hour worked.
"My time is down like 88 hours now," said James Singleton, who was sentenced to 265 hours of community service. "My fines were like 3,000 and something dollars. They told me I'd get $10 an hour. Those numbers were high at first but I've been here since July and I just went at it."
City leaders say it's work keeping the city clean and money they may never collect anyway.
"When we originally started the program, the city had around $400,000 in back-fines. We haven't knocked all of that out but we're probably around $20,000 at this point. The people doing community service they have more respect for our litter control," explained Don Siebenkittel, Litter Control Enforcement Officer.
Municipal Court Judge P.J. Mauffray says the program is still in its infancy stage, but calls it a success. Approximately 10 people a month qualify to do community service.
"I'd say less than five have come back with issues. A couple have been removed from the program and went back on a fine payment scenario. A couple of people had a justifiable reason for their non-compliance, were given a second chance and I haven't seen those again," said Judge P.J. Mauffray , Waveland Municipal Court.
To qualify for the community service program you must have little or no resources to pay a fine, your violation must be considered a misdemeanor, and the judge has to deem you worthy of the program.