Knox City Court In Jeopardy Due To Funding Problems

Back Row: Greg Matt, Mayor Rick Chambers, Clerk-Treasurer Jeff Houston, Donald Kring, City Attorney David Matsey. Front Row: Linda Berndt, Jeff Berg and Ron Parker

When members of the Knox City Administration appeared before the Starke County Council Monday night seeking funding sources to narrow the loss gap at Knox City Court, the subject of discontinuing the court was mentioned.

The next night the Knox City Council met and Attorney David Matsey reported on the meeting with the county officials.

“I think some reality is setting in with the county council members about what is going to happen if city court isn’t there anymore. We need to close that gap of $80,000, and the city isn’t going to subsidize the court forever. The bottom line is it’s going to cost $300,000 to $400,000 to operate another court,” Matsey said.

Matsey said he is hopeful the city and county can open some dialogue about closing the gap.

“City court is an inexpensive way to provide the services. I think the taxpayers are getting a real bargain with it,” said Matsey.

Mayor Rick Chambers said that he had gone back into the city council minutes from the 1980s, and as far back as 1988, the council was talking about closing the city court.

One of the funding problems is that the State of Indiana has been taking a higher percentage of the money the court generates.

All of the talk may be moot, however, as the state has been talking for some time about doing away with city courts.