CHARLESTON - Those convicted of crimes within Mississippi County may soon find themselves chipping in on the county's next undercover sting or equipment purchase.
County commissioners approved the establishment of a county law enforcement restitution fund during their regular meeting Thursday.
"It takes the place of the old crime reduction fund," said County Clerk Junior DeLay.
As authorized by House Bill 1055, judges can now order defendants to pay restitution of up to $300 for any offenses in which they are found or plead guilty except for speeding, careless and imprudent driving, traffic sign and signal violations or class C misdemeanors.
Fees collected by the courts under this provision go to the county treasurer for deposit in the county law enforcement restitution fund.
Commissioners also agreed during their regular meeting Thursday to go ahead and get some quotes from people interested in harvesting timber off the old county landfill, but will probably have to advertise and put the opportunity out for bid before accepting an offer.
"If it's over $4,500, you are supposed to advertise it," DeLay said.
The last time trees were harvested from the site about 20 years ago the county received $18,000. DeLay estimated 40 to 50 acres of timber are available there.
Commissioner Martin Lucas recalled one harvester recently paid $40,000 to cut 30 acres worth of timber at another location. "Making cross ties is what they were doing," he said.
Commissioners agreed there are mostly oak trees at the landfill, but Presiding Commissioner Jim Blumenberg said Road and Bridge Department Supervisor Richard Wallace told him "there's quite a bit of hickory up there."
The informal quotes should give commissioners an idea of what the timber is worth. "We do have a right to reject the bid if we don't like it," Blumenberg said.
In other news in the county, the Charleston City Council is offering a $5,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for the attempted arson of the Charleston City Hall Aug. 31. Those with information are urged to contact the Charleston Department of Public Safety at 683-3737.