At their Sept. 4, 2013 meeting, Washtenaw County commissioners acted on three budget items related to the Washtenaw Trial Court – for a new case management software system, and for state funding of the court’s juvenile division.
The board gave final approval to the selection of a new record-keeping software system for the Washtenaw County Trial Court that’s estimated to cost $2.3 million. The Tyler Odyssey Case Records Management System will replace an outdated software system that hasn’t been supported by the previous vendor since 2005, when the vendor went out of business.
The original resolution, put forward at the board’s Aug. 7, 2013 meeting, had identified the following funding sources for this project: (1) a $551,998 refund from the state related to an unfinished pilot project; (2) $200,000 from an anticipated 2013 surplus in the trial court budget; (3) $700,000 from the county’s IT fund balance; and (4) $899,463 from the county’s capital reserves, to be repaid with any trial court surplus starting in 2014.
However, some commissioners weren’t comfortable with the funding sources that were identified, so an alternative resolution was brought forward during the Aug. 7 meeting that did not include references to funding sources. An amendment to that alternative resolution – made after considerable discussion and procedural maneuverings – stated that the board approved the selection of this software system, and directed the county administrator to develop a maintenance and implementation plan, and to identify funding sources by the time of the board’s Sept. 4 meeting.
The funding sources identified in a separate Sept. 4 resolution are: (1) a $551,998 refund from the state related to an unfinished pilot project; (2) $200,000 from an anticipated 2013 surplus in the trial court budget; (3) $300,000 from the county’s IT fund balance; and (4) $1,299,463 from the county’s capital reserves, to be repaid with any trial court surplus starting in 2014.
A staff memo accompanying the funding resolution also notes that an annual software maintenance and support fee – starting at $188,933 – will be offset by revenue from fees associated with all Washtenaw County electronic filing.
Commissioners discussed the approach to funding for about an hour with Donald Shelton, chief judge of the trial court. An amendment was added from the floor to designate that the e-filing revenues would be used to reimburse the capital reserves until the $1.299 million is repaid. After the $1.299 million is reimbursed, the e-filing revenues would be allocated to the county’s tech plan fund balance.
Both resolutions related to the trial court software were given final approval on Sept. 4. The vote was 8-1 for each resolution. Commissioner Dan Smith (R-District 2) dissented on the resolution related to a funding model. Commissioner Kent Martinez-Kratz (D-District 1) voted in support of the funding model, but against the resolution approving the software purchase.
The board also gave initial approval to 2013-2014 state child care fund expenditures of $9,425,785 for the trial court’s juvenile division and county dept. of human services. About half of that amount ($4,712,892) will be eligible for reimbursement from the state. [.pdf of budget summary] According to a staff memo, the child care fund is a joint effort between state and county governments to fund programs that serve neglected, abused and delinquent youth. Part of this year’s funding will support a new 10-bed treatment program that will be housed in the county’s youth center facility, opening in November of 2013. From the staff memo:
The treatment program in its initial phase will exclusively provide treatment services to females aged 12-17 using an integrated therapeutic treatment model. The program will offer a short-term 90 day option as well as a 6 to 9 month long-term treatment option. The second phase of treatment programming will expand services to males aged 12-17.
The new program is expected to generate revenue from out-of-county treatment referrals.
The expenditures given initial approval by the board on Sept. 4 will result in a net increase of 5.46 jobs. A total of 10.46 full-time equivalent positions will be created, and 5 FTEs will be eliminated. A final vote is expected on Sept. 18.
This brief was filed from the boardroom of the county administration building at 220 N. Main. A more detailed report will follow: [link]