A modest increase requested over the next two budget cycles won’t include technical upgrades to allow webcasts of traveling Court of Appeals oral arguments, Chief Judge Margret Robb told the Senate Appropriations Committee on Thursday.
Robb presented such expenses as a “wish list” totaling $695,350 that also would include technology permitting attorneys in remote areas of the state to participate in oral arguments remotely.
The Court of Appeals’ budget request of $10.65 million for fiscal year 2014 represents an increase of 1.8 percent. The State Budget Agency recommends an increase of about 0.7 percent, to about $10.52 million.
Robb told senators the court’s requests “we believe are very conservative.” She said the court has saved about $100,000 by no longer purchasing books and that the budget increase is largely consumed by fixed costs including increases in judges’ salaries and benefits and rising rent in the PNC Building across from the Statehouse.
Rent for 10th floor offices for several judges and staff will increase $7,100 annually in the next two years from the current annual rent of $364,056.
Robb presented the budget request as funding it must have, and the wish list as items needed to facilitate an “even more transparent and a better court.”