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Court budget approved despite desire for update

By Lisa Brody

Bloomfield Hills City Commissioners unanimously approved the adoption of their portion of the 48th District Court 2021 budget despite reservations that the funding model needs updating, at their meeting on Tuesday, December 8.


The 48th District Court serves the communities of Bloomfield Hills, Bloomfield Township, Birmingham, West Bloomfield, Sylvan Lake, Keego Harbor and Orchard Lake Village, and is funded, per an agreement drafted in 1984 and adopted in 1985, by the four municipalities. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, volumes of cases have dropped while costs have continued. At their November commission meeting, Bloomfield Hills commissioners objected to budget requests for 2021 from the court which did not appear to take into consideration the continuation of the pandemic and its lingering impact, and requested more information.


The 48th District Court operating budget request for 2021 was just under $1.389 million, up from $1.374 million in 2020 and $1.195 in 2019.


At their December meeting, commissioners looked at the breakdown of the percentage of actual case numbers for the four funding units, noting Bloomfield Hills had increased from 9.6 percent of cases at the court in 2018 to 10.2 percent in 2019, to 15.13 percent in 2020.


“Commissioners understand there is a statutory requirement to fund the court and want to, but want to make it more equitable, and make sure what the agreement says is happening by updating the agreement,” said city manager David Hendrickson. “They feel all of the communities should get together, look at it again and make the funding more equitable.”

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