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Sutter County courthouse still on docket

Sutter County's new courthouse will still move ahead, but other proposed state cuts to the court system may be felt in Yuba-Sutter and elsewhere.

In his May revision for a proposed 2012-13 state budget, Gov. Jerry Brown on Monday called for cutting more than $500 million out of the state court system, including more than $300 million in the fiscal year beginning July 1. He also called for a pause in state courthouse construction.

But Sutter County's new courthouse, scheduled to break ground next year on Civic Center Boulevard in Yuba City, was one of six in the state still moving forward, with a scheduled bond sale for construction funding set for next spring, said Teresa Ruano, a spokeswoman for the state Administrative Office of Courts.

Mary Beth Todd, the court executive officer for Sutter County Superior Court, said that is welcome news, given the current court buildings' issues with security and infrastructure.

"It's always a good thing to hear," she said Tuesday, but the governor's overall proposal for court funding left little to be happy about.

Court officers had already planned for about a $500,000 funding cut, but because the governor's proposal had offsetting cuts from different sources, the outlook is a little more murky, she said.

"At this point, it's a budget proposal," Todd said, noting the state budget will have to go through the legislative process. "The state Judicial Council will determine what's allocated locally."

Steve Konishi, court executive officer for Yuba County Superior Court, said it's too soon to speculate on how the proposed reductions would affect operations. He and Todd both said the Judicial Council is meeting this week to discuss the governor's budget.

"I don't want to speculate until I get more information," Konishi said.

He and Todd also both said they've had funding reductions before, and the goal is to provide the same level of service to the public regardless of budgets.

CONTACT Ben van der Meer at bvandermeer@appealdemocrat.com or 749-4786. Find him on Facebook at /ADbvandermeer or on Twitter at @ADbvandermeer.


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