County courts hurt by state budget woes

"We've cut through the flesh and the meat in this department," Fitzgerald said. "We're down to the bone now."

Court Administrator Deborah Schaefer said other departments have been affected too. The loss of a $20,000 child support management grant has hurt the County's Family Law Commission. The grant is one of four funding sources for the commission that last year oversaw the distribution of about $8 million in child support.

"This division is critical in my view," Schaefer said.

They have ruled out going to the county for more money and are going to use $10,000 in savings and $10,000 in federal money they hope to receive through the Department of Economic Security so the program's services won't be lost.

The judiciary has also been told not to expect an additional grant that covers the Alternative Dispute Resolution program.

Schaefer said the program helps the courts provide mediation services without having the cases go to the courtroom. In anticipation they have cut one part time position and are trying to keep spending to a minimum.

Another department that could be affected by cuts, is the juvenile court service. Director Gordon Glau said that his department was exempted from these sets of cuts, but he says they are not out of the woods yet.

"We have to see what happens," Glau said.

In preparation, he said he is currently holding some job vacancies open and the department is keeping all spending in close check.

Yavapai County's presiding judge, Raymond Weaver, said even though they have made some cuts, because of good management the count has been able to cope with the budget slashes.

"So far, we've been very fortunate," Weaver said.


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