• 66°

County addressing court security fund

County officials are ironing out a budget glitch that could have meant less courthouse security, especially in municipal court.

Tuesday, January 16, 2001

County officials are ironing out a budget glitch that could have meant less courthouse security, especially in municipal court.

Common Pleas Court Judge Richard Walton and Lawrence County Municipal Court Judge Donald Capper met with county commissioners in executive session last week to discuss court security funds.

The county added court security to the municipal courthouse in Chesapeake last summer, with enough funding for just over two employees.

When the budget process for 2001 began, that was not taken into consideration, which is what the county and courts are dealing with now, Judge Walton said.

"There will be security at county court," he said last week, but added that budgets must be examined.

What was on a yearly basis – security employees in Ironton, equipment in courtrooms and every other fund required to run the courts – was cut like everybody else, Walton said.

To do that, the county took the funding level from the January 2000 budget line items and cut by 12 percent, he said.

Because the Chesapeake court security system did not come online until July 2000, the funding for it was not reflected in the January 2000 line items, and therefore not considered when the budget cut was made, he added.

The judges and commissioners say they will seek a solution to maintain security at its current level while maintaining a tight budget.

"They will look at it with us," Walton said, adding both county court and Common Pleas will try to cut their budgets back.

At Thursday’s meeting, the judges said they will agree with the county’s requested 12 percent budget cut, commission president Paul Herrell said.

"And we will look into it and see what we can do about it," he said.