State Cuts Have County Contemplating Closure Of Barstow Courthouse

San Bernardino County, which is proceeding with the construction of a new courthouse in downtown San Bernardino next to its existing criminal and civil courthouses at the county seat, is contemplating closing the Barstow courthouse in response to anticipated funding reductions from the State of California.
Governor Jerry Brown’s proposed 2012-13 state budget calls for $21 million in funding takeaways from the Superior Courts in San Bernardino County. In making the cut, the state would suck $14.5 million out of a reserve fund specifically set aside for San Bernardino County Superior Court, reducing that cushion to $13 million.
San Bernardino County would have the option of tapping into that $13 million remaining in the reserve account to sustain service levels, but is simultaneously faced with making up for a $5 million deficit in the just concluding year’s budget.
When all is said and done, the county court system expects to see its 2012-13 budget reduced from $103 million to $82 million.
As a consequence, Court Executive Officer Stephen Nash in conjunction with presiding judge Ronald Christianson is proposing simply closing the doors of the Barstow Superior Court. Cases that otherwise would be heard there will for the most part be moved to Victorville Superior Court. That change will come with Barstow’s three judges being transferred to other courthouses and all 37 court employees there being laid off. The earliest the closure will come would be September 1.
In addition, court administrators will seek to effectuate other economies including measured staff reductions at courthouses in general and imposing on the remaining court employees the loss or reduction of certain benefits.

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