Despite cutting funding to the juvenile courts for 2020, the Franklin County Commission approved budget requests from all other court departments, including increases in four of the five.
All employees from the other court departments are paid by the state of Missouri.
Last week, a judge in the eastern District Court of Appeals ruled the commission must fully fund the juvenile courts for 2020 after a writ of mandamus was filed by 20th Judicial Circuit Presiding Judge Ike Lamke.
Lamke’s budget request for juvenile and family court services was $716,346, but the commission approved only $333,523 for state mandated “Maintenance of Effort,” leaving the courts with a $382,823 deficit the commission will now have to pay.
Although the commission is appealing the appeals court decision, Presiding Commissioner Tim Brinker says the county will comply with the court order for now.
In addition to the juvenile and family courts, monies for five other courts divisions is budgeted from the Franklin County General Fund each year.
In all but one of those categories, the budget requests were higher than 2019 and were approved by the county commission.
The only category where the budget appropriation went down was the treatment court, which was requested by the court itself.
In 2019, the treatment court was budgeted $75,220 and for 2020 the court requested $68,700, which was approved in full by the county commission.
The circuit court budget request of $53,325 was approved for 2020, which is an increase of $4,300 over the 2019 budget request of $49,025.
The budget for the drug/DWI court more than doubled for 2020 to $25,100, an increase of $14,400 over 2019.
The circuit clerk’s office budget remained static with $53,100 approved in 2020 and last year in 2019.
The pool of court reporters, whose salaries are paid by the state of Missouri, was budgeted at $4,760 for 2020, which is an increase over the $4,360 budgeted in 2019.
County funds go toward office supplies, equipment, transportation, books and publications, fuel, janitorial supplies, vehicles, memberships, mileage and other business expenses.
The decision handed down by the appeals court names two specific employees of the juvenile office, who it claims have been working since the first of the year without any salary or benefits.
In 2019, the total budget for the juvenile office was $495,836. In 2018, the budget was $541,285, and $373,611 in 2017.
Personnel services for 2019 totaled $185,956, which included regular wages, retirement and insurances.
According to the 2020 budget message, due to legislation, all juvenile court employees became employees of the state of Missouri in July 1999. As mandated by state statute, the portion of the county budget for employee salaries for that office was given a new title of “Maintenance of Effort Funding.”
Also under state statute, the maintenance of effort funding is based on salaries in 1997.