Knox City Council Discusses Abolishing City Court

The Knox City Council recently discussed abolishing Knox City Court. Even though the court takes away almost $100,000 from the City’s General Fund, Mayor Rick Chambers says there’s no opportunity to abolish it until 2014.

“State statute states during 2006 and every fourth year after that, a second or third class town, or city may, by ordinance, establish or abolish a city or town court,” said Chambers. “So, we can’t just snap our fingers and say no more City Court next year. By state statute, every fourth year you have to do an ordinance.”

The Council members had asked City Attorney, David Matsey, to compile figures showing just how much revenue the City was losing on the court each year.

“If we take the City expense for 2010, it was $159,000 that came out of the City General Fund,” said Matsey. “If we subtract the $60,000 that they paid back to the City, we have a gross loss of a little over $98,000.”

The Council has talked before about turning the City Court over to the County, but even then the share of a County-run court would cost the Knox taxpayers 11.5% of the total cost.

City Court Judge Charles Hasnerl has urged City officials to see if the State and County could help close the gap. While the City took in over $60,000, the State took $89,406 and the County took $32,332 from the Court in 2010. If the State and County could help out, the City of Knox could close its loss gap.

A decision on the future of Knox City Court will not be made until 2013 which will be effective in 2014.