The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

Local News

January 29, 2013

Conneaut council looks at need for Municipal Court

(Continued)

CONNEAUT —

“It’s the first of several steps,” he said.

If survey results support a change, the entire process could involve two additional years, he said.

Conneaut, like other communities, is trying to cope with drastic cuts to local government funds from the state and the loss of inheritance taxes. Combined, the city will lose more than $400,000 this year, said Finance Director John Williams.

Recent gains in other revenue streams, such as municipal income tax as reported earlier this month, only help to keep the city afloat financially and do nothing to improve the budget, he said.

Council said the survey offers a chance to gather facts. The end result could show Conneaut benefits from having its own court, members said.

Still, the city cannot stand pat and rely on its carry-over balance to keep the wolf from the door, said Councilman-at-large Neil LaRusch. Every financial option must be investigated, he said.

“We’re at the breaking point,” he said.

Two of Ashtabula County’s three cities -- Ashtabula and Conneaut -- have municipal courts. Geneva’s judicial needs are handled by Western County court, which operates in that city.

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