The Madison County Circuit Clerk's office has collected $372, 831 in unpaid traffic fines thanks to a partnership with a collections company, Harris and Harris.

The clerk's office announced the amount Thursday afternoon via press release.

According to figures from the clerk's office, unpaid traffic fines have increased from 369 in 2005 to 4,977 last year.

Traffic cases make up the bulk of Madison County's legal cases, totaling around 67,000 on average in a given year.

Unpaid fines mean less revenue for cities, Madison County, county agencies, and the state of Illinois.

The collection of the unpaid fines has led to windfall for a number of Madison County cities including:

- $20,000 for the City of Alton

- $15,000 for the City of Granite City

- $8,000 for the City of Collinsville

- $6,000 for the City of Edwardsville

- $5,000 for the City of Glen Carbon

- $5,000 for the City of East Alton

- $4,000 for the City of Madison

- $2,500 for the City of Venice

Madison County took in $179,000 of the unpaid fines.

The Madison County State's Attorney's Office received $41,000.

The State of Illinois received $55,000.

Harris and Harris, the company that partnered with the circuit clerk's office built an interface that eliminated extra work the collection efforts entailed, Deputy Clerk Judy Nelson said in the release, and the specialized firm allowed the circuit clerk's office to best use its own resources.

"This closes a lot of cases that were a drain on resources," Nelson said.

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