Download Municipal Court Financial Management Handbook - TJB PDF

TitleMunicipal Court Financial Management Handbook - TJB
LanguageEnglish
File Size907.3 KB
Total Pages316
Table of Contents
                            Cover Page
TOC
1.
 Budgeting Basics
2.
 Revenues
3.
 Departmental Budget Request
4.
 Cost Information
5. Internal Control
6. Receipts, Disbursements, and Remittances
7. Special Topics
8. Auditing
9. State Court Costs and Fees
10. State Fines
11. Local Court Costs and Fees
12. What to Charge
13. Special Topics
Appendix A: Prior Charts
Appendix B: Laws
Appendix C: Internal Control Checklist
                        
Document Text Contents
Page 1

MUNICIPAL COURT FINANCIAL
MANAGEMENT HANDBOOK


FOR


TEXAS CITIES




Prepared By


STATE OFFICE OF COURT ADMINISTRATION
WITH THE ASSISTANCE OF THE

TEXAS COURT CLERKS ASSOCIATION


AUSTIN, TEXAS



November 2007

Page 2

Municipal Courts November 2007
Financial Management Handbook Page i


INTRODUCTION



Court Financial Management

The goals of those associated with the court system are pretty much the same—better
government that is more efficient and effective, fair, and accountable to the public.
Regardless of the size and complexity of the court, the financial management system
should be able to show the same thing—who did what, when they did it, and what or how
much was involved. This holds true whether the court is totally manual, totally
automated, or somewhere in between.

The purpose of this handbook is to help improve financial management in Texas
municipal courts. It is based on the premise that when it comes to financial
management—what you do not know can hurt you. The unknown and unfamiliar
cause the most fear and anxiety. Therefore, the more the judiciary knows about basic
financial management—the better off the judiciary and city government will be. The
result will be improved financial management in the judiciary—better accounting, better
internal controls, better cash management, and better audit results.

The approach in this handbook is to: (1) present an easy-to-understand explanation of
what internal controls are and why they are important to the municipal courts; and (2)
present practical information on a wide range of financial management topics that the
courts can use to gauge and improve their financial management operations.

Acknowledgment

The November 2007 edition of the handbook is published by the Office of Court
Administration (OCA), with the assistance of the Texas Court Clerks Association. OCA
appreciates the extensive assistance rendered by the Association in the completion of this
edition of the manual.

Disclaimer

This handbook is to aid judges, clerks, and others by providing practical, up-to-date
information on various topics regarding municipal court financial management. No
express or implied warranties regarding the use or accuracy of this handbook are made by
the OFFICE OF COURT ADMINISTRATION, the AUTHORS, or the EDITORS. This
HANDBOOK is being distributed with the understanding that the OFFICE OF COURT
ADMINISTRATION, the AUTHORS, and the EDITORS are not engaged in rendering
legal, accounting, or other professional advice. When dealing with specific legal matters,
attorneys should consult original sources and rely on their own knowledge and
experience. Other readers should consult appropriate professionals for accounting, legal,
or other advice.

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Financial Management Handbook Page 152

Reporting Period
Each calendar quarter.


Reports and Remittances Due to the State

By the last day of the month following each calendar quarter.
(For example, reports and remittances for the first calendar quarter of
January, February, and March would be due by April 30th.)


Examples

Example 1: Assume a defendant is convicted of the offense Over Gross
Weight and the vehicle is 6,000 pounds over the allowable weight. The
offense occurred in January 2006, did not occur within 20 miles of an
international border, and the judge sets the fine at $400.
Computation
- Total fine collected $400
- Percentage due the state x 50%
- Amount due the state $200

Example 2: Assume the defendant in Example 1 is convicted of the same
offense within one year of the first conviction. The judge sets the fine at
$800.
Computation
- Total fine collected $800
- Percentage due the state x 50%
- Amount due the state $400


Purpose

The money received is deposited in the General Revenue Fund of the State
of Texas subject to appropriation by the Legislature.



10.4 Excess Highway Fines and Special Expenses

Legal Reference

Transportation Code, Section 542.402(b) (See Appendix B – Page 280.).

Offenses Included

Transportation Code, Title 7 offenses (Chapters 501 – 750) in cities with a
population of less than 5,000.
(The most recent federal decennial census determines whether the law
applies to a city. For example, if a city’s population is now 5,400 but was
only 4,800 according to the 2000 census, the law would apply. Conversely,
if a city’s population is now 4,900 but was 5,200 according to the 2000
census, the law would not apply.)


Offenses Excluded

All others.

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Financial Management Handbook Page 153


Amount to be Remitted to the State

After a 30 percent cap amount is reached, any portion of a fine or deferred
disposition special expense collected that exceeds $1.
(For Transportation Code, Title 7 offenses, cities shall keep 100 percent of
the fine and special expenses under Code of Criminal Procedure, Article
45.051 (Deferred Disposition), until a 30 percent cap amount is reached.
Once that 30 percent cap is reached, only $1 of each fine or special expense
can be retained. The balance must be remitted to the state. The 30 percent
cap amount is arrived at by taking the city’s total revenue for the preceding
fiscal year, subtracting any federal funds and bond proceeds, and then
multiplying by 30 percent.)


Reporting Period

Each calendar quarter. However, a report is not required to be filed until
money is due.


Reports and Remittances Due to the State

When money is due, by the last day of the month following each calendar
quarter.

(For example, reports and remittances for the first calendar quarter of
January, February, and March would be due by April 30th. There is a
separate report form for reporting these fines.)

The law also has additional reporting requirements for cities that reach a 20
percent cap (total city revenue for the prior fiscal year, less federal funds
and bond proceeds, multiplied by 20 percent). Those cities must provide the
following to the State Comptroller within 120 days after their fiscal year
ends:
- a copy of their financial statement prepared for that fiscal year and

filed as required by Local Government Code, Chapter 103; and
- a report showing the total amount collected for the fiscal year from

Title 7 offense fines and special expenses.

Example

Assume the following: Anycity’s fiscal year 2007 runs from October 1,
2006 through September 30, 2007; total revenue for fiscal year 2006 was
$600,000. Federal funds and bond proceeds for fiscal year 2004 totaled
$100,000. Anycity receives $13,000 per month from Title 7 fines and
special expenses in fiscal year 2005. Fines and special expenses are $100
per conviction/deferred disposition. (The $100 per conviction/deferred
disposition is for illustrative purposes only. In actual practice, the amount
will vary.)

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Financial Management Handbook Page 309

Yes No NA Comments

b) evaluating the different types of computer
systems and related software? ____ ____ ____ __________

c) deciding on the type of computer system
needed and the related software? ____ ____ ____ __________

d) deciding on the type of hardware
and software packages needed? ____ ____ ____ __________

209. Are specifications prepared by the person or
department responsible for the purchasing
function within the city? ____ ____ ____ __________

210. Does the municipal court have input concerning
the content of the specifications? ____ ____ ____ __________

211. Are the criteria used for evaluating bids/proposal
determined prior to the time bids/proposals are
received? ____ ____ ____ __________

212. Is the relative importance of evaluation criteria
predetermined? ____ ____ ____ __________

213. In evaluating bids/proposals, does the criteria
used to make the evaluation include the following:

a) costs, both current and future? ____ ____ ____ __________

b) reputation of the vendor? ____ ____ ____ __________

c) experience of the vendor? ____ ____ ____ __________

d) training provided by the vendor? ____ ____ ____ __________

e) service of the vendor? ____ ____ ____ __________

f) expected reliability of the hardware? ____ ____ ____ __________

g) terms of the proposed contract? ____ ____ ____ __________

h) specifics concerning the hardware (e.g.,
capacity, speed, computability,
expandability)? ____ ____ ____ __________

i) specifics concerning the software (e.g.,
what it will do and ease of use)? ____ ____ ____ __________

j) software/hardware security? ____ ____ ____ __________



Auditing

214. Is the court audited annually by an independent
CPA? ____ ____ ____ __________

215. Is the office audited periodically by city internal
auditors? ____ ____ ____ __________

216. Is some audit work done each quarter? ____ ____ ____ __________

217. Does audit work include the following:

a) surprise cash counts? ____ ____ ____ __________

b) reviewing bank reconciliations? ____ ____ ____ __________

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