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Judge: Courts can't trim budget and function

January 1, 2008
Faced with the possibility of cutting even more from the Carroll County's courts budget this year, that county's judges stood firm against Carroll County Council requests to again slash the court's budget. The judges sent a letter to the council stating if the Indiana Supreme Court would relieve the courts of some duties, then the court's budget could be further reduced.

The letter was sent to point out the absurdity of the requested cuts, said Carroll Superior Judge Jeffrey Smith. Cutting the budget again would not allow the courts to function properly.

"If in fact the Supreme Court would tell us we wouldn't have to do divorce cases or criminal cases, we might be able to function within the budget," he said.

The County Council is asking the Carroll courts to trim an additional 37.7 percent from its budget held in three different accounts; the courts have already cut approximately $90,000 by shifting to user fees, the judge said.

The County Council requested all departments go back to their 2003 budgets, which was the last time all the budgets were in balance.

"After we made those reductions, all three of our budgets were below the 2003 budget. Then approximately a week ago we were summonsed to a council meeting and told to cut an additional $90,000 without any direction," Judge Smith said.

The letter was sent in response to the additional cuts request. Judge Smith said the letter and the budget issues will be discussed during the April 15 council meeting.
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