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County raises fees for sheriff's services

In an annual daytime meeting that lasted a little over an hour Tuesday, Pierce County Board members voted to increase a series of sheriff's department fees.

At the recommendation of Sheriff Nancy Hove, the board raised the rate charged to work-release prisoners in the county jail from $13 to $14.25 a day.

Hove said the new rate is still one of the lowest around.

Law Enforcement Committee Chairman John Kucinski, who also works as a public defender, said the fees can't be too high because many of the inmates have jobs that pay only $7 or $8 an hour.

The charge is for meals, laundry and housing in the jail, which has beds for 18 work-release prisoners.

Other action taken by the board Tuesday will raise the fees the sheriff's department charges for paper service and increase the amount it collects for foreclosures.

The fee charged to serve legal notices on people involved in civil or divorce proceedings was raised from $26 to $30 plus $20 per attempt for a maximum of three attempts if the person can't be served on the first try.

Earlier, Hove said the department has been collecting about $35,000 a year to serve legal notices. The increase will mean an extra $5,000 to $7,000 a year.

Supervisors also raised the charge for posting foreclosure sale notices from $75 to $100 per notice. The charge for conducting a sheriff's sale will be reduced from $75 to $50.

Hove said the state limits the total charge for posting and conducting a foreclosure sale to $150, so the county can charge no more than that.

But, she said, it takes more time to post the notices, which go up in three to six places in the county, than it does to conduct the courthouse-steps auctions. Also, she said, sometimes sales are posted but resolved before auction, so the county can collect the first fee but not the second.

The board also raised the amount the sheriff's department charges for evictions or "stand-bys" from $26 to $40 an hour.

Hove said the "stand-by" service is provided when officers are requested to help keep the peace, for example, when property is being retrieved. She said her department charges the fee in civil matters, but not in domestic violence cases.

The board approved raising the amount the sheriff's department charges for processing new license plate applications from $17.50 to $19.50. A new $2 fee was added for helping complete vehicle registration documentation.