ST. PARIS – Council unanimously approved dissolving the village magistrate court during Monday’s regular meeting.
During a work session held prior to the regular meeting, Mayor Joe Reneer presented an income profit loss sheet for the mayor’s or magistrate court. The document contained information about the court’s general fund profit/loss, court computer fund profit/loss and the combined court profit/loss.
Since 2012, Reneer said, the village has consistently lost money on the magistrate court in the general fund profit/loss, computer fund profit/loss and the combined profit/loss. Through March of this year Reneer said the village is at a loss of $1,991.62 for the combined court profit/loss.
While preparing information for Monday’s meeting, Reneer said, he received a bill from the Tri-County Regional Jail in the amount of $65.30 because an individual spent one night in jail in March for a magistrate court warrant. He noted the bill showed this individual was the only person jailed by a mayor’s court within the first quarter of the year because St. Paris is the only entity with a magistrate or mayor’s court in the county.
“What we could basically run into is because mayor’s court is the second and fourth Monday of the month, if they issue the warrant on Monday night, he gets picked up on Tuesday, if he can’t bond out you could be looking at two weeks where the individual is sitting there,” Reneer said.
Council member Niven Jester said there have been instances in which individuals sat in the jail for seven or eight days on a minor offense, causing the village to pay the jail for housing them.
Jester also discussed the difference in fines when a person is charged in the magistrate court and the municipal court, where fines are higher than the magistrate court.
If a person is charged into the municipal court, the village would not receive the court costs but would receive the fine.
During the conversation it was noted that magistrate Darrell Heckman and clerk Beverly Gleason were looking to resign by the end of the year.
Council member Terry Ervin II said the magistrate court is a service to the village and the goal is not to make a profit but the village has to weigh this service compared to what it costs to operate.
Reneer said if the magistrate court were to stay in effect, the village is projected to lose just under $8,000 this year between the general fund and computer fund.
After receiving input from Chief Kristopher Cosme, council voted unanimously 5-0 to dissolve the mayor’s court during the regular meeting. Council member Tyler Adkins was not present.
Reneer said it takes a 30-day written notice to terminate the contracts of the magistrate, clerk and bailiff Andrew Goings.
In addition to dissolving the court, council agreed to terminate the contract of Heckman and Goings. Council agreed to continue the contract of Gleason in order to clear case files.
Council appoints new council member
During the April 10 meeting, council appointed Gary Doeden to fill a council vacancy left by the resignation of David Palmer.
Doeden and Ben Hackley were the two individuals who expressed interest in the vacancy and after each candidate addressed council about why they wanted to fill the vacancy council unanimously voted for Doeden.
During Monday’s meeting, Doeden was appointed to the safety committee.
Doeden will serve the remainder of Palmer’s term expiring at the end of this year.
In other action:
•Spring Cleanup will be held on April 24 through 28. All trash bags and brush must be piled up.
Nick Walton can be reached at 937-652-1331 Ext. 1777 or on Twitter @UDCWalton.