The budget for the Mason Municipal Court is a product of the cooperative effort between the Mason Municipal Court and the Mason City Council. As the legislative authority, the Mason City Council is empowered to set the compensation rates for certain positions within the Court. Some positions within the Court, however, are created and compensated at a rate set by either the Judge or the Clerk of Court. The philosophy of the Court is to compensate each employee at a rate that is appropriate for the responsibility and duties they perform. Each purchase made by the Court is scrutinized so as to get the best price on the best materials to fulfill each need.
General fund expenses are the costs of operating the court that are paid directly out of the General Fund. When Mason City Council refers to the budget, the expenditures in these accounts are the funds that they are referring to. You may notice that the amounts listed as 101.707.52310 thru 101.707.52360 are new accounts acquired since moving into the new facility. Despite the continuing effort on the part of the Court to point out that 1901.36 does not allow rent to be charged to the Court, Mason City Council insist that these are cost accounting measurement only. You will also note that neither these accounts nor the charging for rent occurred in any past years.
The navigational buttons to the left will direct you to the various expenditures in categories of payroll and expenses. It should also be noted that the Court, as a portion of court costs, has developed, with the authority of statutory law, funds to expend on certain functions within the Court. Each of these funds are to be used according to the statutory guidelines under which it was created. Therefore, the Court has endeavored where possible to use these funds to pay expenditures and payroll associated with a particular function within the Court, thus taking away from general fund revenue as much of that burden as possible. The attempt by the Court is to ensure that the people using the Court are the ones who pay for the Court.
Revenue of the Court is also posted on these spreadsheets. Some spreadsheets will show the gross amount of revenue collected from Court operations. The spreadsheets will then show disbursement this revenue to the various authorities that receive distribution of fine and court cost revenue. Not all the fines and/or court costs receipted by the Court remain with the Court and/or the City with which to pay the liabilities of the Court.
Therefore, as you navigate through the spreadsheets you can see how both payroll and expenses contribute to the operating cost of the court. Where the money expended to satisfy these liabilities comes from will be indicated by various account numbers, however these account numbers will be identified as either general fund or court special accounts. In addition, the counteracting revenue generated by Court operations will be factored in against the payments to show an over or under budget condition as well as whether or not the Court is actually out spending revenue.
Finally, Mason City Council has expanded the budget of the Court by charging for items such utilities, rent, legal services, contractual services (janitorial), and insurance. It might well be pointed out that these charges were never discussed with the Court nor were they agreed to or authorized. As a matter of fact, the Court strongly disputes the ability of the legislative authority (the City) having the right to charge the Court for these items. The Court basis this opinion on the text of ORC §1901.36. However, for the time being they are presented as part of our budget and handled both as expenses against revenue and expenses not considered a liability of the Court on the spreadsheets.