GIRARD Income from tickets drops

Traffic cases decreased in Girard Municipal Court.
GIRARD -- Girard Municipal Court collected $22,423 less from traffic tickets in 2000 than it did in 1999.
The decrease is contained in municipal Judge Michael A. Bernard's annual report for the court, which has jurisdiction in the cities of Girard and Hubbard and the townships of Hubbard, Vienna and Liberty.
In looking for the reason, the judge pointed to fewer traffic citations, which led to a dip in revenue from fines and court costs of $22,423.
What happened: In 2000, authorities filed 7,854 traffic cases, compared with 9,624 cases in 1999, an 18.39 percent decrease.
"In this court's opinion, the reduction in the number of traffic tickets during the past year has resulted in the decline of revenue available," the judge wrote.
"Based upon the totality of the statistics, it is the court's opinion that the Girard Municipal Court has not caused this decline in revenue because all other branches of the court reflect an increase," Judge Bernard asserted.
The statistics, the judge wrote, indicate that the traffic laws in the court's district "were not as aggressively enforced" in 2000 as they were the prior year.
Judge Bernard said he believes that the Ohio State Highway Patrol is issuing fewer citations.
The numbers: A patrol spokesman said troopers issued 17,842 tickets in 1999 in Trumbull County, but the number for 2000 is not yet available.
The number written by Girard police is down by 153, the judge said, adding that Police Chief Anthony Ross has issued a memorandum to his officers to be more diligent in traffic enforcement.
Much of the report covered the opening last November of the justice center, which includes the court facilities.
The addition was constructed at a cost of about $4.85 million. The court will reimburse the city for the cost.
Judge Bernard wrote that the justice center has resulted in more efficient use of computers and the reassigning and reallocation of duties performed by court employees.
Some of the duties, he noted, include trying to collect fines and costs that have gone unpaid for more than 90 days.

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