County commission has to look all options

The recent editorial opinion and news articles authored by Gary Gould regarding plans to consolidate 67th and 68th District Courts wrongly lead readers to believe the out-county courts will soon be shuttered and moved to downtown Flint. Mr. Gould also states this is being done “with barely a thought about what it will do to the voters and communities they are elected to represent.”

Contrary, there was indeed much thought and analysis given to the court consolidation efforts with much focus on the most efficient and effective use of taxpayer dollars.

As stewards of the taxpayer’s money, it would be foolish, unwise, and irresponsible for us to not examine all options as it relates to the delivery of public services. We are constantly striving to find the right mix of convenient, effective and efficient ways to deliver important and necessary public services. The consolidation of 68th District Court into 67th District Court is but one example.

Some complain that this is an attempt to bail out the City of Flint on the shoulders of out-county residents. This is simply not true. This proposal is revenue neutral as it concerns County government and out-county taxpayers. It will, however, result in a considerable savings in the millions of dollars for the City of Flint. It is our hope and our intent that this will allow for more resources for enhanced public safety in the City of Flint as well as provide for better use of the County jail through increased probation resources. In the end, Flint is still the county seat and what happens there affects the entire county in one form or another.

Further, I want the public to know that we have no plans to shutter the out-county court buildings. For now, and for the foreseeable future, the physical location of these courts will remain the same. It’s worth noting that most court business and other vital county services are already handled in downtown Flint anyways, including the 67th District Court, and it has been that way for decades.

Perhaps someday down the road, far beyond my years as an elected official, new technology and financial constraints on local government will mandate that the outlying county court buildings be closed and moved to downtown Flint. At that time, there will be plenty of opportunity for public debate and discourse as to the appropriate steps to take. — Jamie Curtis, Chairperson, Genesee County Board of Commissioners

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