Ruling expected in financial dispute

GIRARD -- An 11th District Court of Appeals magistrate is expected to issue a ruling in a financial dispute between Girard Municipal Court and the city today.
Judge Bernard ordered the city in November 2005 to increase its appropriation for court operations by $49,000. Council complied but has filed suit to get the money back.
The judge also ordered the city to increase appropriations to the court for 2006 to $905,454, an issue that has been included in the appellate court lawsuit. The court was originally appropriated about $600,000 for the year.
Magistrate Matthew Lamb said he will render a decision by today. Attorneys will then have five days to appeal the decision to a three-judge panel at the appellate court.
Paul Marshall, fiscal commission chairman, said the commission could sue the city in an attempt to force Girard to keep the court within its $600,000 budget -- should the city lose the appellate court battle.
Marshall said the commission, however, has decided to wait and see what happens after any appeals to the magistrate's decision have been made. The commission, he said, will then sit down again and determine a course of action.
Marshall did not say if court action against the city would still be a possibility.
Commission members met Wednesday and voted unanimously to allow an additional $75,000 to be appropriated for court payroll. City council approved the funds last week. Judge Bernard said the additional funds were needed to make payroll before a ruling was made by the appellate court.

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