In one of the most packed races in the region, Margaret M. Quinn won election in the race for the Oakwood Municipal Court judge seat.
Quinn took 22 percent of the votes, or 724, with all precincts counted. Other candidates in the eight person race include Ward Barrentine, Chris Conard, Chris Epley, Sara Hein, Michael Hochwalt, Brian Huelsman, and Richard Lipowicz.
Oakwood Municipal Court serves the smallest municipal court population and second-smallest caseload in Ohio, plus city residents subsidize the court by $80,000 annually.
City officials said the price of contracting or consolidating the court with Kettering’s or Dayton’s municipal courts may cost more for less control, though the city could not provide any official documents related to the cost differential because non exist.
The eight people running to replace retiring Judge Robert Deddens for the part-time, $67,150 position say Oakwood should retain its judgeship and that increasing fees, fines and court costs will cut into the operating deficit by as much as half.
“It would take an act of the state legislature to close our court and confer that jurisdiction on another court,” Oakwood Law Director Rob Jacques said. “They’re not going to do that unless they know that there’s going to be a cost savings agreement in place between those communities.”
The 2012 expenses for Oakwood’s court were $216,848 while the revenue was $136,304, leaving an $80,000 hole filled by taxpayers. The revenues are from several sources including criminal, traffic and parking fines plus court costs and filing fees. The court’s $216,848 cost represents less than 2 percent of the city’s $12.94 million budget.
Even so, consolidation doesn’t make sense for Oakwood officials “We just could not envision a funding model that would be beneficial to us,” Jacques said. Oakwood’s court serves just 9,202 citizens and has a case load about one-tenth of another Montgomery County municipal court.