Judge Discusses 'Misconceptions' About Stow Court House
About 15 people came to the open hours meeting to discuss the court system with Judge Kim Hoover.
"The finances of courts are very odd, it's even hard for me to undertand sometimes," but Stow Municipal Court Judge Kim Hoover helped residents understand how much the court costs during an open hours meeting in City Hall.
"You are now the biggest court that almost everyone in Ohio hasn’t heard of yet ... we serve in this district the seventh largest court population in the state," he said.
But does that mean the cost of the court house is going to be too big or unmanageable?
Not according to Hoover.
"What I keep hearing about is that we’re costing Stow $1 million a year and you can’t pave the roads, can’t hire police [officers] because of the court," he said. "I don’t care if you’re an opponent, you haven’t heard the facts."
Citing figures from 2009, Hoover explained that the $1 million deficit everyone is talking about, is a "misconception" because other figures are not factored into the equation.
The term "deficit is misleading ... it sounds like were spending more than we bring in, and that is totally untrue," he said.
After subtracting $250,000 coming in from other communities that the court serves, subtracting another $100,000, which is the cost Stow paid to the court system when it was in Cuyahoga Falls, reducing the cost by $15,000 for healthcare costs for judges that are being reimbursed by the state, $40,000 in income tax fees now being kicked back to Stow and several other figures ... the cost of the court house is more like $110,000 annually, said Hoover.
"I think it's become kind of an urban myth, that 'You guys at the court house are killing us, the expense is terrible,' … it’s not," he said. "The part I can’t stress enough is that we did this in the worst economic times in the history of everyone in this room. When [Mayor] Karen Fritschel says were an asset, I say hear, hear!"
The judge also said another benefit for the city is the location of the court house.
"We’ll be good for Stow businesses, it's a good location on [SR] 8. People have place to eat, get gas," said Hoover. "If God had picked a location for the court, he wouldn’t have been far off from where it is now."
Director of Budget and Management John Earle said the court and the city have a good working relationship and said the figures discussed in the meeting were accurate.
The judge said he encouraged anyone with questions about the finances of the court house and what it is costing the city, to contact him.
"I’m familiar with the numbers, if you have questions, let me know. I’ll answer them, I’m not disappearing," he said.
"For us to have a [municipal] judge to come in here and answer any question is fantastic, he is an asset for our community," said City Councilor Matt Riehl, who was hosting the open hours meeting with co-Councilor Mike Rasor.