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TRUMBULL COURTS County to review funds for computers



Published: Wed, July 20, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



Commissioners want to meet with the administrative judge.

WARREN -- Trumbull County commissioners want to make sure all of the required funding is in place before committing to a massive overhaul of the clerk of courts' computer system.

The commissioners were to be asked this week to sign $841,890 in contracts for software licenses. However, Commissioner Paul Heltzel, during Tuesday's board work session, requested a clearer breakdown of all funding sources before the vote can occur.

Commissioners will seek a meeting with Judge Andrew Logan of Trumbull County Common Pleas Court within a week. Logan is the court's administrative judge and a proponent of the computer upgrade, which has been proposed since 2001.

"The money is there for this," assured Linda Sypert, county management information services director.

The county's system dates to the mid-1990s and uses computer terminals tied to a mainframe computer; the upgraded software requires use of personal computers. The system is called CourtView, provided by Maximus, a national court software and case management system used throughout Ohio, based in North Canton.

There is equipment to be acquired -- new PCs, large flat screens, label writers, laser printers, power supply, scanners and memory; the software and licenses; and staff training.

In March, commissioners approved issuing $1.2 million in bonds for the project, with an eye toward bringing in the new system Aug. 1.

Improving service

The overhaul would provide better public Internet access, improved information sharing and a smaller number of paper documents, explained Karen Infante Allen, clerk of courts. Her office has $305,000 in a computerization fund and brings in about $60,000 to that fund each year, she said.

The upgrade will give the clerk's office the ability to scan documents and eventually provide Internet access to dockets.

Only a few Trumbull County operations are now using the CourtView system, such as the prosecutor, jury office, probate court and Eastern District Court. The task now is to tie together the general division courts, clerk of courts, adult probation, juvenile justice, domestic relations, municipal courts, county recorder archiving and others.

Judge Logan has said the upgrade is necessary because the clerk's current system no longer can be serviced.

The maximum maturity of the $1.2 million in bonds is five years. The county sets aside a portion of tax millage for its bond retirement fund and will make five annual principal installments at 6 percent interest per year. Huntington National Bank is the paying agent for the bonds; the notes will be sold to Fifth Third Securities Inc.

There's also a $50,000 grant toward the upgrade from the Ohio Office of Criminal Justice Services.




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