Monday, February 22, 2010

No program reductions despite $1 million cut

The judges of the Superior Court of Fulton County have approved a final budget for 2010 that is $984,090 less than 2009 expenditures. The $24.3 million 2010 Superior Court budget does not include reductions in Court progerams, nor staff layoffs, said Court Administrator Judy Cramer.
"We will be tightening our belts throughout the courthouse," Ms. Cramer said. "But due to the excellent work of our business office we will not lose any employees."
Among the cost-saving measures employed to reduce this year's budget are not filling open positions and postponing the hiring of the support staff for the Court's 20th judge named in November by Gov. Perdue. Other savings in operating costs include savings on postage for juror summons, calling fewer prospective jurors, and tighter purchasing controls.
But the most important actions were those taken to avoid massive cuts that threatened to cripple the county's judicial system.
In November Fulton County officials notified the Superior Court that its 2010 budget would be reduced by $5.2 million from the 2009 budget of $24.5 million. Chief Judge Doris L. Downs said such a drastic cut would threaten public safety.
Her warning, echoed by Fulton District Attorney Paul Howard and other elected judicial officials, set off a public outcry aganst such cuts at subsequent Fulton Commission meetings that steadily mounted until Jan. 20 when Fulton Commissioners approved a Court budget that is approximately $1 million less than the prior year.
"While we were cut almost $1 million from last year after having five positions eliminated at mid-year 2009, we have adjusted and will continue to provide good public service," Cramer said in announcing the cuts to staff.
"Thanks to all of you for your patience and support during the period of budget uncertainty we experienced in 2009."

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