The small town of Walls in DeSoto county, population 986, leads the state in the amount of its budget coming from fines and forfeitures.

According to the study by Governing magazine, the town sourced 26.53 percent of its budget from fines and forfeitures in 2017. That adds up to $249 of fines per resident.

Data from the state auditor’s office shows this number didn’t occur in isolation. Walls had 25.7 percent of its budget originating from fines and forfeitures in 2015 and 32.2 percent in 2014.

In 2017, the town had revenues of $898,808 and $238,476 came from fines and forfeitures.

Numbers from 2016 were not available.

CityYearGeneral fund fines and forfeituresTotal general revenuesShare of general revenuesFines and forfeitures per adult residentPopulation
Walls2017 $      238,476  $        898,808 26.53% $                   249                              958 
Guntown2016 $      108,553  $        790,844 13.73% $                     61                          1,780 
Bruce2017 $      196,744  $    1,722,886 11.42% $                   138                          1,426 
Decatur2017 $      133,442  $        767,961 17.38% $                     83                          1,608 
Laurel2018 $   1,614,160  $  17,073,552 9.45% $                   126                        12,811 
Ellisville2017 $      476,254  $    3,189,997 14.93% $                   131                          3,636 
Mendenhall2015 $      173,357  $    1,511,996 11.47% $                     90                          1,926 
Florence2017 $      355,079  $    2,558,194 13.88% $                   120                          2,959 
Raymond2017 $      120,076  $        736,103 16.31% $                     62                          1,937 
Flowood2018 $      981,949  $  20,433,623 4.81% $                   196                          5,010 

The Rankin county city of Flowood was second, with $196 of fines and forfeitures per each of its 7,823 residents. The city had revenues of $20.4 million in 2018 and $981,949 came from fines and forfeitures.

Going by percentage of a city or town’s budget, the town of Decatur in Newton Ccunty was second to Walls, with $133,442 of its revenues in 2017 ($767,961) coming from fines and forfeitures.

Mississippi’s numbers were better than most, with only nine jurisdictions receiving 10 percent or more of their revenue from fines and forfeitures. Alabama had nine, Tennessee had 18 and Arkansas had 44 jurisdictions with 10 percent or more of revenue originating from fines and forfeitures.

Louisiana had 70 municipalities and counties in the 10 percent category and had 25 areas receiving 50 percent or more of their budgets from fines and forfeitures.

Georgia had the most nationally, with 92 receiving 10 percent or more of revenue from fines and forfeitures. The Peach State had 13 jurisdictions that received more than 50 percent of their revenue from fines and forfeitures. 

Texas was second with 90 jurisdictions in the 10 percent or greater cohort.

According to the study, fines and forfeitures account for more than 10 percent of general fund revenues for nearly 600 jurisdictions surveyed by Governing magazine. In 284 of those, fines and forfeitures were 20 percent or more of revenue.

One hundred twenty four jurisdictions had fine revenues exceeding $500 per capita.