Changes, budget approved by township for court
By Kevin Elliott
Bloomfield Township will advance about $1.9 million in 2023 to the 48th District Court under a $4.8 million budget unanimously approved Monday, December 12, by the township’s board of trustees.
The 48th District Court serves Bloomfield Township, Bloomfield Hills, Birmingham, West Bloomfield, Keego Harbor, Orchard Lake Village and Sylvan Lake. Three municipalities – Bloomfield Township, Birmingham and West Bloomfield – serve as the court’s funding units, which advance budget funds to the court and split the remaining revenue, minus expenditures. The other communities utilize the court’s services and receive one-third of the revenue they generate from court cases, annually. Bloomfield Hills served previously as a dedicated funding unit, but withdrew from the agreement in 2021.
Birmingham and West Bloomfield in November of this year each approved the court’s 2023 budget.
Patrick Dunn, 48th District Court administrator, said some recent changes have impacted the operations of the court, such as the continued use of Zoom and the full return of in-person criminal proceedings. Further, he said the court is adapting to legislative changes and electronic filing procedures.
“While the court has always been diligent in the managing of its budget, the court realizes the township has had to use more of its general fund resources to fund the operation of the court due to the departure of Bloomfield Hills as a funding unit,” Dunn said.
Knowing that employee salaries and benefits account for a substantial portion of court expenses, Dunn said the following changes have been made:
• At the end of 2019, the court had 37 employees. The court currently employs 33 people, five of which are part-time to help reduce the number of employees.
• Employees hired after 2007 aren’t eligible to receive retiree health care benefits, and receive a reduced contribution to their retirement plan.
• The court is reviewing all equipment leases and contracts to reduce monthly payment and maintenance costs.
“We believe our budget is reasonable and necessary, and we shall continue to strive for an efficient operation that is always protective of taxpayer dollars,” Dunn said. “Any unused budget funds will be returned to the funding units.”
Trustees unanimously approved the court’s proposed budget.