COLUMBUS — The merger of the Tiffin and Fostoria municipal courts into one cleared the Ohio Senate unanimously today on its way to Gov. John Kasich’s desk.
Once fully implemented, the merger is expected to save the state nearly $64,000 in salary, retirement, and related costs with the elimination of one judgeship. It’s expected to result in a net $144,000 annual financial gain as fine and fee collections remain in the city of Tiffin, where the new Tiffin-Fostoria Municipal Court would be based.
Despite the loss of fine and fee collections, the city of Fostoria would experience a net savings in court-related expenses of $163,143 a year, according to the Legislative Services Commission. The merger has been supported by the city’s councils and mayors.
“The bill would save state and local judicial resources without sacrificing the important access that the citizens need to the court,” said Sen. Frank LaRose (R., Akron), chairman of the Senate Public Safety, Local Government, and Veterans Affairs Committee.
Tiffin Municipal Judge Mark Repp has presided over both courts since the death of Fostoria’s judge last year. The bill, sponsored by Rep. Rex Damschroder (R., Fremont), requires that the Fostoria court remain open as a branch and that the judge of the newly merged branch must sit on that Fostoria bench on a weekly basis.
The bill passed the House 92-1 last month and will take effect immediately upon the governor’s signature. A judge will be elected in November for the new court, which will be formally merged on Jan. 1, 2014.
- Jim Provance