Switch from municipal to King County District Court rings up savings for Auburn

There is a difference between what it would have cost the City to have kept its Municipal Court and not contracted with King County in 2012 to run a district court.

But to put a precise number on it in the moment isn’t easy, Rob Roscoe, director of risk management for the City of Auburn told city leaders recently.

For one thing, there are actual district court costs versus projected costs for all of 2017, and the latter figure is more problematic because King County doesn’t bill the city until later, Roscoe said, and of course, the city no longer has a municipal court.

“It’s a little bit of an art, I’ve gotta be honest, because of salaries and you don’t really know where things would have ended up, as well as staffing levels, and they can fluctuate,” Roscoe said.

Actual district court expenditures in 2016 were $1.8 million compared to $3 million projected for the scenario in 2016 wherein Auburn kept its municipal court.

The largest cost difference between the two courts is probation expenditures, which Roscoe projected would have been $1.4 million for 2016, and which were running already historically high when the city ran its own municipal court.

In 2012, the city had seven probation officers, in comparison with Renton’s 1.5 full-time equivalents, Roscoe said, adding that at any given time back then, the Auburn court was monitoring 700 people on probation.

Another savings, albeit smaller, concerns probation: since 2012, King County District Court has assumed all liability risks in carrying out its special, mandated duty to ensure victims are served correctly, so the City no longer pays that insurance bill.

Roscoe said Auburn’s case filings have risen since 2012 because the City has put 14 more officers on the street, and three more are waiting in the wings. But misdemeanants from Auburn are spending fewer days in the SCORE jail, from a 122 average daily population in 2013 to 79 in 2016.

Judicial philosophy plays a role.

“We had a very strict judge in the past, and King County is a little more lenient in its sentencing structure as far as days in jail,” Roscoe said.

More in News

Solei Day Spa, partner bring comfort to animal shelter

Fundraiser supports 15 new dog beds to the AVHS

Dave and Cindy perfect their chili for judges at the Washington State Chili Cookoff in Moclips on Oct. 7. COURTESY PHOTO
Auburn man has a winning recipe in state chili cookoff

Husband, wife serve up great taste at competition

Metro revises timeline for RapidRide bus expansion

After originally aiming to build 20 additional fast-service bus lines on high demand routes by 2040, King County Metro has changed its construction timelines and put 13 of those projects on hold.

Auburn Police blotter | Oct. 19

Auburn Police responded to the following calls for service, among many others,… Continue reading

VRFA fire and rescue blotter | Oct. 19

Between Oct. 8 and 14, the Valley Regional Fire Authority responded to… Continue reading

Candidates for state office stake out their positions before Auburn crowd

47th and 31st Legislative districts represented at chamber-backed event

Watch your mailbox for general election ballots

King County Elections on Wednesday mailed ballots to nearly 1.3 million registered… Continue reading

Main Street Plaza laces up for ice skating rink

Auburn Downtown Association to help bring in seasonal surface; group plans other holiday events

Most Read