Keep court here by occupying City Hall | Letters | Dec. 3
December 3, 2010 · 1:52 PM
Regarding the proposed move of the Bainbridge Island Municipal Court to Poulsbo, why can’t the court use the City Council meeting room at Bainbridge City Hall? It’s a COBI operated, taxpayer-owned building.
Presently, Judge Carruthers is a 0.67 employee, less than 30 hours per week. The Council will cut her back to 0.50 by the end of the year to less than 20 hours per week for actual court time.
Certainly the court can coordinate the meeting room schedule with the hearing examiner and share the facility during the day.
City Hall has at least two entrances so victims/witnesses don’t have to cross paths with the accused. It’s in town so parking is available. The judge could get a cubicle at City Hall (plenty there, with the early-outs and lay-offs at COBI), the court could get an on-duty BIPD officer who’s already on the payroll to work security when the court is in session.
According to Councilor Bob Scales, 90 percent of the court business is for traffic violations and the court hasn’t had a jury trial in three years. So why pay Poulsbo rent and make people drive off the island to fight their soon-to-come $50 parking tickets?
I know there is always more to a story than we get from the media, but from the coverage on this issue it appears as if one or two council members have an ax to grind with Judge Carruthers. That’s understandable considering the judge’s comments about the Rolling Bay facility and her resistance to have her hours reduced.
But this isn’t about the egos of the council members and her honor. It’s about doing what’s best for the people who pay for city services. The council would be doing island taxpayers a great service by reconsidering this issue and making a decision that maximizes savings and serves the community in the most convenient manner possible.
I’ve talked with several people who claim to have shared a similar concept with the council. I suggested the plan to the City Council via e-mail on Nov. 10. Unfortunately neither Scales nor Hilary Franz (my North Ward representatives), nor Barry Peters (our at-large council member) have been able to reply to my suggestion.
I’m sure they get lots of correspondence, but a suggestion that could save the city between $30,000 and $50,000 annually, not to mention keeping a city service in the community, should warrant some type of response.
Maybe that isn’t a lot of money to the City Council, but it?s a lot of money to me and some of that cash comes from my taxes. So why give it to Poulsbo?