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Municipal court closer for Plover and Stevens Point

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STEVENS POINT, Wis. (WSAU) -- Stevens Point and Plover are closer to starting their own municipal court. The concept has been brought up occasionally for the past ten years, and after some delays, the Public Protection Committee is behind it.

The committee was able to ask questions of Police Chief Kevin Ruder, District Court Commissioner Ron Ledford, Grand Rapids Municipal Court Judge David Grace, and Wisconsin Rapids Municipal Court Clerk Karen Bertolini.

Mayor Andrew Halverson expects this to pass the city council because this is overdue. “At the municipal court level, the judge has the opportunity, which is significantly better to interact with the person who wants to be heard. That’s really priority number one. Priority number two is the fact that it is simply going to make us more money. The revenue is going to be significantly higher within a municipal court structure than the revenue that we see currently coming from the circuit court.”

Even though Plover and Stevens Point would make more revenue from operating a municipal court, the forfeitures would actually cost less for violators because less of the money gets sent to the state.

Halverson says he and the council support keeping the dollars at home. “These are infractions that happen at the local level. We feel the forfeitures that come along with it should also rest at the local level.”

Plover Village Administrator Dan Mahoney assured the Stevens Point committee that they are ready to proceed on the joint court. Both municipalities anticipate passing identical ordinances creating the court in February.

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