The new Franklin County Municipal Court has already collected more fines this year than it did in 2012, County Treasurer Debbie Aholt reports.
In 2012, the court collected $18,169 in fines, she said.
For January, the court collected $23,333 in fines from 230 cases, Aholt said, adding, “January was a good month for them.”
Aholt noted that the court did not start operating until late last year. The 2012 fines were from the end of October to Dec. 31, Aholt said.
Other than fines, the court also collects court costs, and those are divided between several county funds and nine different state agencies with a portion going to the crime victims compensation fund, Aholt said.
The county municipal court charges $47.50 for court costs. Of that, $22.37 stays with the county, and the remaining $25.13 goes to the state agencies, Aholt said.
The county portion of the court costs is divided between the general fund, law enforcement training fund, law enforcement sales tax fund, prosecuting attorney’s training fund and the municipal court fund.
The portion of the court costs that have gone to the county this year have totaled $5,128.40.
Projections for the new Franklin County Municipal Court show that it will be self-sufficient and even have more than $100,000 left over at the end of fiscal year 2013.
The court budget states that $250,000 will be collected from court costs and fines this fiscal year.
But County Auditor Tammy Vemmer cautioned that those revenue projections are not based on any historical data since the court just became established late last year. Those numbers are projections from the county counselor, Vemmer added.
In the short time the court operated in 2012, 535 cases were filed and 199 disposed, and all of the cases were traffic related, according to Judge Walter Murray Jr.
Murray plans to give a report each month to the county commission on the court’s activity. The court also can handle violations of county ordinances and codes.
The county municipal court, which meets on Thursdays, has budgeted expenditures of $156,883 for this fiscal year.
The court employs a part-time judge and a full-time clerk. It also pays $4,500 for additional outside clerk services and contracts with the Union law firm of Purschke, White, Robinson & Becker for $5,500 a month, or $66,000 a year to act as prosecutor for the court.
The court has budgeted $70,583 for wages and benefits for the clerk and judge in 2013; $76,800 for services, which includes the law firm serving as prosecutor; and $5,000 for supplies and equipment.
The budget anticipates ending the fiscal year with $109,229 unspent.