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Court clerks ask lawmakers for an effective solution to prevent budget cuts

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Florida’s Clerks of Court have asked lawmakers to exempt the offices from additional fees in order to compensate for the budget cuts.

The clerks have seen budget cuts since 2009, and they are not sure if they can make payroll, said David Ellspermann, clerk of court in Marion County. Some clerks have already submitted their budgets and are waiting on a decision from the state legislature.

The 7 percent budget cut last year caused the Clerks of Court a $30 million budget shortfall. The clerks then requested a short-term payment from the state.

Ellspermann said the state also charges an 8 percent fee to manage the money in the offices’ trust funds.

“That’s another $30 million, or so, that we’re trying to be exempt by statue,” Ellspermann said.

Clerks of Court are tired of budget cuts that could prevent them from being able to pay employees and are asking lawmakers to help them come up with an effective solution, Ellspermann said.

The state changed last year from the previous trust fund method to the budget process.

“They’ve realized that the roller coaster that we as clerks ride on they do not have a guarantee source of revenue,” Ellspermann said.

“There’s enough money to fund the clerks and the courts appropriately if some of pot of the money we collect is not distributed,” Ellspermann said

He said lawmakers have been cooperative in this process, and it’s up to lawmakers to find a solution.

Audreyanna Loguerre edited this story online.

About Matt Sheehan

Matt can be reached by calling 352-392-6397 or emailing news@wuft.org.

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