North Bend considers court services options

NORTH BEND - The city is asking King County for a two-year extension of its court contract to allow it enough time to discuss the future of such legal services, which could find North Bend forming its own municipal court.

In February King County Executive Ron Sims notified 16 cities that now contract with the county to provide district court services that due to budget constraints those services would be terminated by Jan. 1, 2005. Sims said that the current contracts are finding the county losing money.

"We conservatively estimate that the 16 cities to which we provide district court services receive a collective subsidy of $3 million a year," Sims said in the notification letter dated Feb. 14. "Continuing this subsidy is both unfair to other cities that have initiated their own municipal courts, and inconsistent with the direction that this government must take to address its budget challenges."

The county has said that the contracts could be extended, for a term of less than five years, if a city certifies in writing that it intends to create or join a municipal court and provides an estimate of the date the court will commence operations.

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