The Oak Ridge City Council on Monday will consider approving $30,000 in funding per year for five years for the Anderson County General Sessions Court, Division II, in Oak Ridge.
The money would be used for court operations and capital costs. Council will consider the funding during its regular meeting at 7 p.m. Monday, April 10, in the Oak Ridge Municipal Building Courtroom.
Anderson County commissioners have cited the expected Oak Ridge contribution in their discussions of keeping the court in Oak Ridge and moving it from a private building on Bus Terminal Road to a county-owed building on Emory Valley Road.
The City of Oak Ridge and the Oak Ridge City Council have supported having the General Sessions Court in Oak Ridge since its start on February 1, 1993, City Manager Mark Watson said in an April 4 memo to Council members.
Once housed at the Oak Ridge Municipal Building, the court has been on Bus Terminal Road since 2009. An 18-month lease at that building, which is owned by Vintage Development Corporation, expires in June.
It’s not clear if renovation work at the county-owned building on Emory Valley Road will be completed before the current lease on the Bus Terminal Road building expires, so commissioners have discussed renegotiating the lease on the Bus Terminal Road building in order to “buy time.”
Watson said Oak Ridge, Oliver Springs, and Rocky Top have found the General Sessions Court to be an “important aspect of customer service for the residents of our respective communities.” Since it’s close, the court has lowered costs to taxpayers by reducing the time and wages spent by the Oak Ridge Police Department and other officials, Watson said.
“Residents also can conveniently conduct business as needed within their own community, saving their time from work and avoiding travel commitments,” Watson said.
He said the municipal staff wants to encourage the investment in Oak Ridge and extend the city’s ongoing supplemental investment.
The $30,000 per year for five years would start with the Fiscal Year 2018 budget beginning July 1, Watson said. It would continue through FY 2022. Payments would be made on October 1 each year.
See the Monday night City Council meeting agenda here.
See previous story on General Sessions Court, Division II, here.
More information will be added as it becomes available.
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