Scales of Justice

Now in a $5 million hole, local judiciary closer to balanced budget
July 25, 2013 6:38 PM
Shea Johnson, Staff Writer

SAN FRANCISCO • San Bernardino County courts remain in a hole of about $5 million even after the state’s Judicial Council on Thursday voted to allocate $6.6 million to the local judiciary.

County court Executive Officer Stephen Nash said he was “really pleased” following the council’s morning vote.

Amid projections 18 months ago of a deficit in the $22 million range, it might not be all too difficult to understand why.

The council approved recommendations made earlier in the month by the Trial Court Budget Advisory Committee of how to divvy up to county courts a recently-restored $60 million to the state judiciary, according to Nash, who listened to the meeting via a live public audiocast.

The infusion of money was provided in Gov. Jerry Brown’s state budget signed in late June.

The county court will reap $4.2 million and then an additional $2.2 million under a new workload methodology, which factors in caseloads by county.

The added $6.6 million removes more than half of the county’s $11.3 million court funding deficit. The remainder — a few hundred thousand dollars — consists of retirement and benefit spending not accounted for in that deficit, Nash said.

Earlier in the month, county court Presiding Judge Marsha G. Slough, also a member of the advisory committee, said that officials couldn’t discuss a possibility of reopening the Barstow courthouse until the deficit was shored up.

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