Timing of prosecutor's decision irks Roanoke council

The Roanoke Town Council and Roanoke Town Court Judge Bobby Turpin met in a special session on Tuesday, Oct. 30, to discuss the ramifications of Huntington County Prosecutor Amy Richison's recent determination that all traffic violations in Huntington County be filed through the Huntington Superior Court.

The most significant ramification of Richison's decision is the probable closure of the court. The court relies upon the revenue from fines assessed during traffic violations to stay in operation.

Troy Karshner, council president, and JoAnn Kirchner, clerk-treasurer, voiced displeasure with the timing of Richison's decision. The council learned of that decision on Friday, Oct. 12, te10n days after the council had passed its budget for 2013.

"About three or four weeks ago we approved the town's budget, which was funding part of the town court, so now we have expenses in there that we, as taxpayers, have to cover with no income coming in," says Karshner.

Indiana statute states that during 2006 and every fourth year after that, a second or third class city or town may, by ordinance, establish or abolish a city or town court. The next year for this is 2014 and if the Roanoke Town Court must be taken out of the picture, Karshner favors taking this approach.

"If we could've talked about a lot of this up front, taken care of some of the issues and maybe worked things out to where, if we could've gotten through the 2014 deadline date where we could abolish the court, then it's something to look forward to, it's something to plan for and it's something where we don't have to get hit in the pocketbook, so to speak, with taxpayers' dollars to try and fund something when we've got no dollars coming in," says Karshner.

The council instructed Turpin to proceed as usual until the work on his docket is finished, which Turpin estimates will take until February.