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Ohio House budget proposal would eliminate Municipal Clerk's office

By MICHAEL COOPER • Apr 25, 2017 at 6:00 PM

SPRINGFIELD (TNS) — An item in the Ohio House of Representatives biennial budget proposal could consolidate the clerk of courts offices in Clark County, if approved.

The proposal would eliminate the office of the Municipal Clerk of Courts in Clark County and roll its duties into the Clark County Clerk of Courts Office, according to House Bill 49, which was released Tuesday morning. The item was listed as part of recommendations made by the Ways and Means committee.

Lawmakers are reviewing the proposed changes in the House Finance Committee today. More changes and an omnibus amendment is expected Monday. Once the House gives its approval, the bill moves to the Ohio Senate for consideration. Legislators face a June 30 deadline to adopt the budget bill.

The Municipal Clerk's office has about 20 employees, Clerk Guy Ferguson told the News-Sun last December.

Although the city pays the majority of the budget for the municipal court and the clerk's office, it does not have any control over staffing or spending because judges and clerks are elected officials.

The clerk's office requested about $1.83 million for this year, but the city cut its budget 10 percent, or about $182,000, to about $1.64 million, according to the city's 2017 budget.

The city of Springfield spent about $1.66 million in 2014 and $1.68 million in 2015 on the municipal court's office. Last year, it spent about $1.72 million.

The Clark County Municipal Court saw more than 26,000 cases in 2015, according to statistics compiled by the Ohio Supreme Court.

As of 2015, the total caseload for the municipal court is down 25 percent since 2000.

Any changes to the court system have to be approved by the state legislature.

We have reached out to local officials for response to this proposal and will update this story as we get additional information.

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