Municipal Court Coming To Georgiana


By Catalina Trivino

It's been more than 40 years since the city of Georgiana has had any type of municipal court... and in a few weeks, they'll be bringing it back...

Georgiana residents will no longer be walking through the doors at the Butler County Courthouse to pay their fines.

Starting next month, the city of Georgiana will start a $57,000 yearly investment... all towards operating their own municipal court.

"It was a no-brainer because we did do our homework. it wasn't something we just jumped up and said we were just going to do," Said Georgiana mayor, Jerome Antone.

Antone tells us the city brought in a court consultant to do a three month study on whether bringing in a city court would be feasible. That's when he and other city officials surveyed court systems across the state. And with the number of cases Georgiana filed in 2012, they said bringing a municipal court would save them money.

Just last year, Georgiana filed 4,421 criminal and traffic cases.

"A typical speeding ticket is I believe $209 dollars and the city gets approximately $20 dollars out of the speeding ticket. That's it. Everything else goes to different agencies," Said Georgiana Chief, James Blackmon.

The study says the city would get nearly $50 more from an average speeding ticket fine -- and when you add up the number of court cases, that's thousands of dollars in court and bond fees that could have stayed in Georgiana.

"From the financial perspective, in the past we were receiving about $90,000 from the court system and we feel as though we can receive an additional $122,000 [according to the study]," Said Antone.

Next month, Georgiana residents can pay their fines at the magistrate's office, located at the old housing authority office.

City leaders say another incentive to bringing a municipal court is the increase in court costs and bond filing fees legislators approved of last year. They tell us they've appointed Wayne Bush as Judge, Tom Albritton as prosecuter, and Beverly Rogers as magistrate. They'll be sworn in during next month's council meeting.


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