Lorain County Courts, Coroner’s Office Budget Requests – Morning Journal
Lorain County budget hearings continued on October 28 with presentations from Lorain County Courts and County Coroner Frank Miller III on their departmental needs through 2022.
Common Pleas Court
Deputy court administrator Deborah Tansey requested a budget of $ 8,883,460 with a 3% increase in employee salaries and pension contributions as well as a 0.2% increase in general fund dollars for supplies.
The court currently has 104 staff, including six judges
The Court’s budget is funded by $ 4,665,529 from the general fund and $ 4,217,931 from grants and legal costs.
In a study comparing counties of similar size, Tansey said the court spends a combined $ 955 per case prosecuted, lower than Stark and Butler counties which both exceed $ 1,000 per case prosecuted. Butler County had a combined cost of $ 1,307 and Stark County at $ 1,296.
“It further illustrates that we are good stewards of the taxpayer dollars entrusted to us,” Tansey said.
Common Plea Judge D. Chris Cook said that in reviewing cases referred to the General Division of the court he had been very progressive in making it easier for defendants to retain driving privileges in child support cases. and others to enable them to get to work, appointments and advice, if necessary.
“The biggest problem has to go to college that these people drive anyway,” he said. “They’re going to drive anyway. It’s the No. 1 felony indicted in Ohio for one misdemeanor: driving with a suspension.
Cook said he and other Lorain County judges would prosecute thousands of these cases and that his philosophy gives them a legal way to drive and insure them.
On mental health and addiction issues, Cook added that specialized court records, including the Lorain County Veterans Treatment Court, Lorain County Welfare Mental Health Court and the tribunal County of Lorain Salvage, help meet local needs.
He estimated that about 30 percent of those incarcerated in the Lorain County Jail have some sort of mental health problem, while between 65 and 70 percent struggle with an addiction problem.
The court sees a drug element in almost every case, even non-drug charges such as theft, assault, and robbery, and it pointed to the specialist records and resources provided by the department. County of Lorain Probation and the Lorain / Medina Community Correctional Center. as a means of fighting the drug epidemic in Lorain County.
Family relations court
The Lorain County Family Relations Court submitted a budget request of just under $ 12 million, asking for a 4% increase.
Kristen Richardson, the court’s acting deputy administrator, pointed out that over the past 15 years, the court has only asked for six increases and has maintained a reputation of trust. She said the increase was reasonable and necessary for the proper functioning of the tribunal.
The court deals with family relations and juvenile court, asking for $ 2,863,788 and $ 2,825,228 respectively.
For the Lorain County juvenile detention center, the court is asking $ 2,190,404 in addition to $ 480,856 for the operation of its Turning Point shelter.
Family Relations Judge Lisa Swenski said the court continued to be fiscally responsible and with an increase in gun violence involving accused minors they must continue to take action to protect the community.
Lorain County Coroner Dr Frank Miller spoke to the Commissioners and said his office would need more resources, highlighting an increase in overdose deaths, vehicle deaths, suicides and homicides.
The coroner’s office handled 882 cases in 2020, and his office handled a total of more than 1,060 cases already in 2021.
Miller said an increase in autopsies, toxicology testing, transportation and a lack of mortuary space have increased pressure on the department and requested an operating budget of $ 996,000 in operating expenses and salaries. .
Commissioner Matt Lundy expressed a desire to find a long-term solution for a morgue, preferring an equipped location that could handle between 12 and 15 bodies at a time, and suggested possibly using part of the $ 60 million allocated. by the county to fund the US bailout. from the federal government.