Change to Audit Fees for Guardianship Initial Inventories and Annual Accountings
Effective July 18, 2016, audit fees required by FS 744.365 and 744.3678 for Guardianship Initial Inventories and Annual Accountings will be paid in the Portal at the time of E-Filing. By utilizing this feature of the Portal, Probate Court Records hopes to improve customer service by collecting the fees when the report is submitted and fall in line with the statewide movement to standardize the Portal experience.
Please be sure to read the linked Clerk Alert regarding this important change.
New e-Filing Rates
The Florida Courts E-Filing Authority has changed the Florida Courts E-Filing Portal e-filing rates to $5.00 per filing when paying with an e-check and 3.5% when paying with a credit card. The fee changes are due to an increase in operational costs of payments and transactions.
Pinellas Clerk's Financial Transparency Site Receives Award
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - The Florida Government Finance Officers Association (FGFOA) awarded Pinellas County Clerk of the Circuit Court and Comptroller, Ken Burke, the 2016 Advanced Commitment to Excellence (ACE) Award in the category of Innovative and Outstanding Work in Technology Utilizing Transparency. The award presented to Clerk Burke during the 2016 FGFOA Conference, commended the financial transparency site he created called "Spending in the Sunshine."
READ THE COMPLETE PRESS RELEASE HERE.
Pinellas Clerk Releases 2015 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report and Popular Annual Financial Report
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - The office of Ken Burke, Pinellas County Clerk of the Circuit Court and Comptroller, released the Citizens' Guide to County Finances (Citizens' Guide), also known as the Popular Annual Financial Report (PAFR) and the Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR) for the fiscal year ended September 30, 2015. The Citizens' Guide is an easy-to-read financial report designed to help Pinellas County citizens understand where County revenues come from and where the money is spent.
READ THE COMPLETE PRESS RELEASE HERE.
Important Change to the Probate Priority Request Process
Effective May 15, 2016, the Clerk of Court will no longer take any action on priority requests without the written approval of the Judge. When a Priority Request is filed, it will be forwarded to the Judge for review along with a form which the Judge will use to indicate whether or not the Request is “Approved.” If the Judge approves the request, the case will be reviewed by the Clerk on a priority basis. If the Judge does not approve the priority request, the case will be reviewed in the order of the filing of all cases. Because the volume of priority requests has so greatly affected the work flow and efficiency of case processing by the Clerk of Court, only matters which the Judge identifies as deserving of priority review will be expedited.
To view the new Probate Priority Request Process, please click here. If you have any questions, please email the Probate Court Records department at Probate@mypinellasclerk.org or call (727) 464-3321.
Criminal E-Filings Now Mandatory Due to New Administrative Order
Since January 1, 2016, E-filing has been mandatory in the Pinellas County Criminal Division for all documents filed in a Criminal action.
Please be advised that the Pinellas County Clerk’s office will only accept documents filed through the ePortal, except those identified in the new Administrative Order No. 2016-018 . Effective May 1, 2016, documents received in the mail will not be filed or processed and will be returned to the attorney.
Electronic pleadings for the following cases will be accepted in the Criminal Division:
- Circuit Criminal
- County Criminal
- Criminal Traffic
- Civil Traffic
- Juvenile Delinquency
- Juvenile Dependency
If you have any questions, please email the Criminal Court Records department at
New Administrative Order Regarding Procedures for Returning Firearms in Pinellas County
Administrative Order (AO) No. 2016-006 PI-CIR states the following:
Any person who seeks the return of a firearm seized by law enforcement under section 933.14(3), Florida Statutes, where no arrest was made and no case was filed must file a Petition for Return of Firearm(s) with the Clerk of Court. The petition must be sworn and must be served on the law enforcement agency in possession of the firearm(s).
To read the entire AO, please click here. You can also download and print the required Petition Packet at no cost by clicking here or you may pick up a printed packet at the Clerk's office for $0.75.
Please note this document cannot be e-filed and must be filed in-person at any of the following Clerk's office locations:
- Civil Court Records
315 Court St. (Room 170), Clearwater, FL 33756
- Pinellas County Justice Center
14250 49th St. N. (2nd floor), Clearwater, FL 33762
- North County Branch Office
29582 U.S. 19 N., Clearwater, FL 33761
- Tyrone Branch Office
1800 66th St. N., St Petersburg, FL 33710
- St. Petersburg Branch Office
545 First Ave. N., St Petersburg, FL 33701
If you have any questions, please contact the Clerk's Customer Information Center at (727) 464-7000.
Pinellas County Charter Review Commission
While the Florida state constitution provides counties with the power to govern themselves, counties can enhance their authority by adopting a charter. Pinellas County's Charter is reviewed every eight years by a Charter Review Commission (CRC) which can then place amendments to the Charter on the ballot to be considered by the voters.
The CRC is comprised of 13 members to include: one member from the Pinellas County Legislative Delegation, one constitutional officer, one member from the elected city officials, one member from the Pinellas County Board of County Commissioners, and nine members from the public at large. The CRC gives the citizens of Pinellas County a direct influence on the structure of their local government by providing venues for public input.
The CRC shall review, on behalf of the citizens of Pinellas County, the operation of county government in order to recommend amendments to the Charter, if any. Although the members of the CRC are selected from a pool of applicants and appointed by the Board of County Commissioners (BCC), the CRC functions as an independent commission, separate from the BCC.
To learn more about the Charter Review Process as it progresses, please visit the Pinellas County Charter Review Commission webpage.
New After Hours Procedures for Baker Act and Marchman Act Hearings
Effective immediately, the following after hours procedures for filing petitions for involuntary examination or involuntary placement under the Baker Act (Chapter 394, Florida Statutes) and for involuntary assessment and stabilization or involuntary treatment under the Marchman Act, (Chapter 397, Florida Statutes) are implemented:
- After hours means after 4:00 p.m. or before 8:00 a.m. on a regular work day, or at anytime during a holiday or weekend day.
- Baker Act petitions for involuntary examination or for involuntary placement and Marchman Act petitions for involuntary assessment and stabilization will be received for filing and date/time stamping by the Clerk of Court but will not be processed after hours. After hours filings will be processed on the next working day.
- Petitioners wishing to file afterhours shall be informed of the following;
a.) Their petition will be processed the following work day.
b.) Petitioner may contact law enforcement or call 911 in the event of an emergency relating to the respondent.
Probate Email Alerts to Guardian and Attorney on Case
In an effort to streamline our process and reduce the amount of Orders Disapproving Annual Guardianship Reports, Probate Court Records will begin offering an Audit Email Alert subscription to Guardians and Guardianship Attorneys on a case.
Subscribers will receive an email alert when ONE of the following items will result in an Order Disapproving an Annual Guardianship Report that would have otherwise been approved:
- Missing fees: audit fee, professional guardian fee or initial investigation fee
- Missing certificate of service
- Disaster plan needs to be updated
To sign up for this notification service, please be sure to read our Clerk Alert.
New Service Alerts Pinellas Property Owners to Possible Fraud
Tampa Bay Times article - Pinellas County property owners can now get alerts about possibly fraudulent activity involving deeds, affidavits or other official records. The Pinellas clerk of court office is the first in Florida and among the few in the nation to offer the new Property Fraud Alert system free of charge to those who sign up. "This is a wonderful tool," said Vanessa Castrogiovanni, the office's communications coordinator. "A lot of people don't really check filings in official records so if somebody is recording something under your name you are alerted right away."
READ THE COMPLETE ARTICLE HERE.
New Option to Pay Parking Tickets Online
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - The office of Ken Burke, Pinellas County Clerk of the Circuit Court and Comptroller is pleased to announce that parking citations can now be paid online. The introduction of this new service provides the public a convenient and secure portal to pay their parking tickets with just the click of a button. "With the addition of this new payment method, the Clerk's office is proud to offer the public a convenient way to pay their parking tickets," said Ken Burke, Pinellas Clerk of the Circuit Court and Comptroller.
READ THE COMPLETE PRESS RELEASE HERE.
SCAM IRS CALLS:
Please be aware that Pinellas County citizens are being contacted by someone posing as an IRS representative. The scammer claims the IRS is filing a lawsuit against the citizen and threatens the citizen with arrest or losing their driver’s license for failure to pay the associated fines and fees.
If you know you owe taxes or you think you might owe taxes, call the Internal Revenue Service at 800-829-1040.
If you know you don't owe taxes or have no reason to think that you owe any taxes (for example, you've never received a bill or the caller made absurd threats), call and report the incident to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration at 800-366-4484.
Avoid becoming a victim of this scam by reading and sharing the linked news article.
JUROR SCAM NOTICE:
Our office has received several calls from citizens regarding a recent juror scam. The scam involves citizens being told they must pay the fines associated with missing jury service or face serious consequences. All potential jurors for Pinellas County are contacted by U.S. mail. We do not contact you by phone and do not ask for Social Security numbers, credit card numbers or other personal information. Should you receive a phone call saying that you have failed to report for jury service and they ask for personal information, this is a potential identity theft scam.
Please DO NOT give out any personal information. You may contact this office for information at (727) 464-6423.
Information from the FBI's website may be found here: http://www.fbi.gov/news/stories/2006/june/jury_scam060206
Snopes.com has also researched the scam: www.snopes.com/crime/fraud/juryduty.asp
If you have been a victim of this crime or have any information on these phone scams, call Detective Bingham of the Economic Crimes Unit at 727-582-6200.
Western Union Available for Child Support Payments
Western Union has recently unveiled the return of its Child Support Payment Services for the state of Florida for cash-only payments. This convenient service can be used at more than 2,400 outlets throughout the state and 37,000 outlets nationwide. It is also helpful for individuals who can only make payments in cash. The process is simple. Participants will need to provide their County number, 11-digit case number and the custodial parent’s last name. Each transaction will incur a $3 Western Union Service Fee. There is a $5,000 limit on transfers.
With thousands of registered Western Union agents throughout the state, this payment service method is a convenient process. Here is a short list of participating vendors: Winn Dixie, SunTrust, Regions, AMSCOT, Check Cashing Store, Value Pawn & Jewelry, Cash Checking USA, Suncoast Bank, Kmart, Synovus Bank, Navarros and Sedanos.
Please call 1-800-325-6000 to find a location near you and remember that payments are sent electronically with a receipt provided as proof of payment.
Email Scam Alert
It has been reported that citizens are receiving fraudulent emails informing them that they must appear in court. These emails may appear to originate from well known law firms and government agencies. However, please note that they are indeed a scam intended to infect your computer through the use of attachments or links in the email.
Notices to appear in court are not sent by email from the Clerk's Office or from other agencies.
If you receive such an email, you are advised to delete it at once and disregard any attachments or links contained therein as these may spread malicious software to your computer. Also, be careful when deciding to open emails that allegedly come from law firms which do not pertain to a relationship you already have with the firm, as those can also be malicious in nature.
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To view our previous announcements, visit our archive.