Staying the same: Clerk budgets to remain same in 2012

The Clerk of Courts Office budget is expected to remain the same in 2012, while the Municipal Court Clerk Office budget should decrease in the new year.
“We were definitely hit this year with added expenses with Sue Ellen (Kohler) retiring,” Auglaize County Clerk of Courts Jean Meckstroth said of the former longtime clerk. “We don’t forsee those added expenses next year,” she said.
The Clerk of Courts Office budget for 2012 was proposed at $287,829 with employee salaries at $176,994 — the largest line item followed by related benefits. Supplies were budgeted at $8,000, with $4,000 in other expenses, $2,500 in contract services, and $2,000 in travel.
In the Municipal Court Clerk Office budget, the proposed budget at $314,790 is a decrease of 2 percent with $7,000 saved in bank charges by switching to a free credit card processing company.
At $255,852, the single largest line item again is employee salaries and related benefits. Supplies is budgeted at $8,000, contract services $5,000, other expenses $3,000 and travel $1,500.
The budget for the Certificate Title Administration fund also is proposed to decrease to $175,923, a decrease of 2 percent from 2011.
Employee salaries account for $105,000 in the budget, with $5,000 for supplies, $4,500 for travel, $4,000 for other expenses, and $3,000 for equipment.
Meckstroth said with an employee named to a state committee they may need to cover travel expenses for her to attend in-depth training three days a week for five weeks until they are reimbursed. An additional $1,000 was figured into the budget for that line item.
In other court fee related clerk funds, Meckstroth said they are holding their own charging at cost.
“We’re taking in enough to off set costs of entities who don’t have to pay,” Meckstroth said.
She was anticipating needing to purchase new printers at some point as they were having some problems with them, but other equipment — computers and image scanners — are new and working well.
With the imaging process now implemented, Meckstroth said she now has employees back scanning old records.
“This can be a time consuming process,” Meckstroth said.
She asked about hiring one or two people to help with the job, although she would prefer to do it in house, maybe through the use of a temporary agency, rather than hiring a company to take all the records off site and do the back scanning.
“I think this could be very costly and I would prefer the cases stay here so we can assist customers that my need a record from their cases,” Meckstroth said.
Meckstroth said she also was considering allowing employees to occasionally work after hours or on a Saturday to complete backscanning.
When proposing her budget she also discussed with Auglaize County commissioners the possibility of using revenue for remodeling upgrades to the Title Department Office.
While deciding to distribute most of her former work duties among deputy clerks rather than hire a new employee, Meckstroth said she wanted to keep the salary line item where it was to see how that arrangement works in the future with changing work loads.
She said she also would like to give additional compensation to those employees who have taken on additional duties.