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St. Helens finance director indicates the court is generating more revenue than years prior

Over the past six months, the St. Helens Municipal Court has shown improvements fiscally, according to the city's finance director, and positive changes are expected to continue.

St. Helens Finance Director Matt Brown gave a brief update on the fiscal status of the municipal court during a City Council work session Wednesday, Feb. 7, indicating the court is generating more revenue than it has in previous years.

During the first half of the fiscal year, from July to December, the court generated $135,00. During the same time frame in 2016, the court generated $113,000 and only $91,000 in 2015, Brown explained, indicating a trend of improved revenue generation.

Expenses for the city department for that period came in at $203,000, an improvement over expenses in 2016, which were $228,000.

Expenses in 2015 were one of the lowest, at $179,000.

Brown noted the changes are the result of hiring a new prosecutor last summer for the court, Clayton Lance, and renewing a previous contract with Judge Cindy Phillips. Both have implemented changes in how cases are processed through the court.

City councilors spoke little following Brown's presentation, but are expected to evaluate the municipal court on an ongoing basis. Last year, the council began discussing ways to revamp the court system to keep it viable as a city program, when expenses outpaced revenue by nearly $153,000 in the 2016-17 fiscal year.

During a City Council meeting in December, councilors said they still saw room for improvements within the court system beyond financial stability

and wanted to continue monitoring the court.

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