Steamboat Springs The Routt County Board of Commissioners agreed this month to adopt a new zone system to assess mileage fees when sheriff’s deputies are used to serve civil process papers, including eviction notices, demands for payment and foreclosure notices on residents across the county.
The fees will go up about 14 cents a mile.
Mileage fees are charged over and above the standard process fees mandated by state law for various types of civil service. The flat fees range from a jury subpoena ($10) to court-ordered real estate sales ($20 to $100), for example. The new mileage fees will correspond to the mileage deduction allowed by the Internal Revenue Service — 50 cents per mile in 2010.
“The mileage change was quite overdue,” Civil Deputy Rhonda Erickson said. “This is definitely a better way to do it.”
In the old system, a recipient’s ZIP code was used to assess a mileage fee, about 36 cents a mile. Now, the county will use recipients’ addresses from the county GPS system to place their residence or place of work within one of 10 concentric rings centered on the Routt County Sheriff’s Office. Serving anyone within the same ring will result in identical mileage fees.
The new system is more accurate and better represents the cost to the taxpayer, Erickson said.
Typically, the bulk of the Sheriff’s Office’s involvement in serving papers (handled by patrol deputies) is attributable to money collections with a substantial number of protection orders (for which fees are sometimes waived), Erickson said. But the economic climate has substantially increased the number of civil process papers being issued, she added.
Going forward, the mileage charge for a recipient living in the city of Steamboat Springs (Zone 1) will be 4 miles per round-trip — just $2, increasing to 11 miles ($5.50) in Zone 2 and 22 miles in Zone 3 (including Catamount Ranch and Club, but not Lake Catamount). The standard round-trip mileage charge for each successive ring then would increase by 15 miles all the way out to Zone 10, where the 127-mile round-trip to extreme south and northwest Routt County would cost the party seeking service $63.50 in mileage.
Deputies not required
In most cases, the use of a sheriff’s deputy to serve civil papers on another party is optional, Erickson said. People may choose to hire a private business to serve papers, or for that matter, any disinterested party can take on the chore. However, in Colorado, a deputy must be used to serve an eviction notice, she said.
The flat fees charged for serving papers have not gone up in the new regulations with the exception for the return fee for papers that could not be successfully served on the first attempt, Erickson said. That fee increased from $16 to $20.
And one fee was reduced. In the case of two people living at the same address and being served papers in the same matter, perhaps a husband and wife being served for collection of a credit card debt, the flat fee was formerly $35 for each of the two people. Now, it’s $35 for the first person and $10 for the second, Erickson said.
It’s not much to celebrate, but it’s something.