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City mulls adding staff to municipal court

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By Shereen Siewert

Members of Wausau’s finance committee on Tuesday approved a request to add additional staff to the city’s municipal court.

Citing a steep rise in citations, Wausau Municipal Court Judge Mark Sauer is requesting the city add a permanent part-time clerk to reflect increasing court administrative needs. Wausau’s Municipal Court has, since September 1996, had one full-time administrative specialist who handles those responsibilities.

Responsibilities in the municipal court have increased significantly since 1997, according to city documents. Citations issued by the Wausau Police Department and the Inspections Department have also increased. According to city records, first-offense OWI citations, which are handled in municipal court, increased from 141 in 2014 to 321 in 2018.

In addition to first-time OWI offenses, the Municipal Court also reports convictions, dismissals and amendments of citations to the Department of Motor Vehicles and handles issuing summons and complaints by the city attorney’s office. About 524 citations are processed on average per month by the court, generating an average of $36,857.50 in revenue per month.

The fiscal impact of the resolution would total $36,000 in 2019, which includes $13,000 in remodeling costs and wages of $23,000.

Most major municipalities in Wisconsin with similar caseloads have a larger court staff, Sauer said, in his memo to the committee.

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