FLORIDA LEGISLATURE INCREASES COURT FEES AGAIN
First round of fee changes begin on June 1
WEST PALM BEACH, FL (May 29, 2009) – For the third time in under a year, the State Legislature has increased several court-related fees or added new ones. On Monday, June 1, more than two dozen circuit civil, probate or family fees will change. Additional criminal fees will increase on July 1. The increases are part of legislation initiated by Florida judges and sponsored by Rep. Ellyn Bogdanoff and Sen. Ken Pruitt. The state, not the Clerk & Comptroller’s office, will receive the additional revenue the fee increases are expected to generate.
The biggest changes pertain to foreclosure cases. Instead of having the same flat filing fee as all other circuit civil cases, foreclosures will now have their own filing fees ranging from $401 to $1,906 depending on the value of the claim. Those wishing to file a foreclosure cross-claim, counterclaim, counterpetition or third-party complaint will now pay $395 to $1,900, instead of the general circuit civil fee for those types of filings.
Additionally, the general filing fee for all other circuit civil cases increased from $301 to $401. Cross-claim, counterclaim, counterpetition or third-party complaint filing fees, unrelated to foreclosures, increased from $295 to $395. Most probate fees increased by $115, while Unified Family Court fees for adoption and guardianship also increased by at least $100. An attachment containing the new and increased fees accompanies this news release. The changes will be available June 1 on the Clerk’s Web site, www.mypalmbeachclerk.com.
The fee increases are part of Senate Bills 2108 and 1718—legislation that also includes drastic cuts to staffing and services of Clerks’ offices throughout Florida. Clerks must slash their budgets by $46 million statewide by July 1. The state-mandated budget cuts mean an 18 percent budget reduction for the Clerk & Comptroller’s office in Palm Beach County. Clerk Sharon Bock announced May 20 that layoffs and other cuts would be required.
The Florida Constitution established the independent office of the Clerk & Comptroller as a public trustee, responsible for safeguarding public records and public funds. Clerk Sharon Bock is directly elected by and accountable to Palm Beach County residents. In addition to the roles of Clerk of the Circuit Court, County Recorder and Clerk of the Board of County Commissioners, the Clerk & Comptroller is the Chief Financial Officer, Treasurer and Auditor for Palm Beach County.
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