North Bend to retain King County courts

NORTH BEND - King County will continue to provide court services for North Bend until at least the end of 2006.

At its May 4 meeting, North Bend City Council members approved the new contract that will find the county collecting about 11 percent more income from the arrangement than in previous years. In North Bend, that 11 percent will result in a loss of about $3,000 per year in income for the city.

In February of 2002, King County Executive Ron Sims announced that the county would no longer provide court services for its 16 contracted cities at the end of 2004. Sims claimed the county was not recouping funds for services offered and was losing money in the process.

Following the announcement the 16 cities gathered to discuss possible contract negotiations with King County and explore the idea of forming joint municipal court arrangements within the group.

In March of 2003, the Metropolitan King County Council suggested Sims suspend the termination notice to allow more time to look into the issues. In July of that year negotiations for a new contract with the 16 cities began.

In September of 2004, a new agreement was created that has been approved by the county and currently is in the process of city approval. The new contract will go into effect on Jan. 1, 2005, and will end Dec. 31, 2006.

Under the new contract the revenue would be split 86 percent for the county and 14 percent for the city. In 2003, the estimated revenues, which have not been finalized, were $29,135, resulting in $7,284 for the city. Under the new contract the 2003 take for the city would've been $4,079.

City Administrator George Martinez said although any loss of funds to the city is a detriment, the deal struck with the county made the most financial sense. Martinez said he does not expect the loss of funds to impact the city's operations.

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