County budget cuts could force Forks district court move

An upheaval in the makeup of Clallam County District Court #2 is possible, and hinges on the outcome of county 2012 budget negotiations now underway in Port Angeles.

District Court #2 is located within Forks City Hall on Division Street.

Moving the court out to the former Forest Service building north of Forks on Highway 101 is one scenario announced on Wednesday evening, Oct. 5 at a county budget hearing held in the Forks City Council Chambers.

Representing the Clallam County at the meeting was County Administrator Jim Jones, who is responsible by law for balancing the county budget, and County Commissioner Mike Chapman.

The move out of town would save rent, which was pegged at about $3,600 per month in Forks City Hall.
Mayor Bryon Monohon spoke against any possible move – talk of consolidating the Forks court in Port Angeles has also been mentioned – and of District Court #2’s budget being cut some 21 percent compared to about eight percent cuts for other law enforcement and legal agencies such as the Clallam County Sheriff’s Department Jones said the county is facing a $2.4 million short fall. He and Chapman said the shortfall is due in great part to new banking regulations under the federal Dodd-Frank bill. Under the bill income from certificates of deposit held  by the county up until this budget year brought in over $2 million. Now the county must pay its bank about $100,000 in fees related to the CDs and receives no income.

One of the two district court clerks in Forks could also be let go too due to the budget cuts, it was reported.

News this week has county department working to add furlough days to help with the budget shortfall, and unions possibly making concessions.

An update on the court situation is expected in November.

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