By Jeff Gallatin
Mayor Kevin Kennedy is “overjoyed” with the first set of figures from the North Olmsted Mayor’s Court, he said Friday.
Kennedy’s administration released first-quarter figures from mid-January through March, as well as the numbers for April and May, the first two months of the second quarter. The court held its first session on Jan. 17. Kennedy was scheduled to review the numbers with North Olmsted City Council at a special committee of the whole meeting last night. Kennedy planned to invite officials from cities involved in the Rocky River Municipal Court as well.
North Olmsted officials formally approved the court last year after Kennedy announced his plans to move much of North Olmsted’s ticket and misdemeanor traffic cases from Rocky River Municipal Court to the mayor’s court. Kennedy said the move would keep income from the tickets and court cases in North Olmsted instead of sending it to the municipal court, which is based in Rocky River and, in addition to Rocky River and North Olmsted, also handles cases for Bay Village, Fairview Park and Westlake. North Olmsted’s more serious cases and criminal cases still go through the Rocky River court.
After Kennedy told them of his plans, officials from the Rocky River court and other cities protested, saying the resultant drop in income would result in lower efficiency and the need to reduce staff.
Friday, Kennedy said the court is running well in its first few months.
“I’m overjoyed with how it’s running so far,” he said. “The court has been running smoothly and the cases have been coming in a good fashion.”
For the first quarter, which contains the period from when the court opened in mid-January through March, the figures showed $43,693.67 in excess of the court costs, with the April and May numbers showing $51,392.33 for a total of $95,086 through the end of May.
For the first quarter, the North Olmsted Mayor’s Court showed a total of $113,065.31 in fines collected with 1,845 total cases listed. The average fine was $61.28. At the Rocky River River Municipal Court for the same period in 2012, the figures showed $114,376 in total fines collected, with 1,857 total cases and an average fine of $61.59.
Kennedy said the numbers show well, considering the transition from one court to another.
“I think those numbers are great considering we actually got the court under way in mid-January,” he said. “We also are able to do it with less court costs and make it easier for all the parties involved.”
For the first two months of the 2013 second quarter, North Olmsted showed $90,467 in total fines collected with 1,577 total cases and an average fine of $57.37. For the 2012 second quarter, Rocky River court figures showed total fines collected of $141,018, with 2,361 cases and an average fine of $59.73.
Kennedy said the mayor’s court is running efficiently.
“A major difference to me is that there are less court costs involved in our court,” he said.
Kennedy said the North Olmsted Court should become even more efficient as it grows older.
“It should be able to settle into a pretty smooth routine as people get more and more used to it,” he said. “Court Clerk Kathi Cole, the magistrates and staff all know their business. We also have two new police officers coming to fill openings which have been in the department for a few months, so you’re likely to see more tickets starting to come in.”