The Kirksville municipal court will be dissolved June 1, and operations will be transferred to Missouri’s second judicial circuit court.
Kirksville city manager Mari Macomber said there will be a transitional period in April where they will begin shifting operations to the circuit court. Also, the court fee will increase from $12 to $15.
Kirksville is not the first city to propose this idea. Randolph County also recently eliminated its municipal courts.
Macomber said the municipal court has always operated at a deficit. She said there was an unwritten policy that the cost of operations for the municipal court should not exceed $50,000, but over the last few years, the cost has exceeded $70,000.
Macomber said other reasons for the decision to dissolve the municipal court included that a municipality the size of Kirksville is not required to have a municipal court, there was legislation passed that put more regulations on municipal courts and the current municipal court clerk is retiring.
Russell Steele, presiding circuit judge for the second judicial circuit, said despite an increased workload, he thinks the efficiency of the court clerk’s office will offset this because of its electronic filing capabilities. Steele said he does not foresee a significant increase in the cost of the court, but some employees previously employed with the municipal court will likely no longer be needed.
“There’s going to be some growing pains and some transitional pains from doing this, I know, but I think all in all, the city has reasons for doing what they’re doing,” Steele said. “They have every right to do it, and so we have to make the best of the situation and do what we need to do to make it work, and I’m confident that we will do that.”