Those looking for information on crime reports and legal cases could soon lose access to Portage County’s Courtview website system.
CourtView is an online document system utilized and paid for by the municipal, common pleas and domestic relations courts, the prosecutor and public defender, the sheriff and the clerk of courts. The system has been in use in Portage for more than 15 years.
In a first for that time period, the Board of Commissioners is being asked to pay more than $42,000 of the system cost.
The commissioners do not utilize the system and have paid into the system in only 2014 and 2016 for regular upgrades. And in 2015, due to unexpected rising costs associated with the system, the board paid roughly $26,500.
At a time when the board is facing financial pressures from elected officials across the county government, the bill comes as yet another unexpected burden.
The group of offices that primarily utilize the service has more than $427,000 in what’s referred to as computerization funds. According to County Budget and Finance Director Todd Bragg, the fund was established to collect a portion of court fees to be used for new computers, equipment and software.
Since 2014, Courtview has cost between $160,000 and $200,000 per year. Those figures vary based on how many licenses the county purchases for use.
The amount owed per department previously has been decided by a formula, incorporating the number of licensed users per department and total caseload.
As of this month, the juvenile and probation courts do not utilize the system, and the cost of the county prosecutor’s office is paid from the budget of the county’s information technology department.
The county’s public defender’s office utilizes the free version accessible by the public. That version does not contain all of the documentation available through the full licensed-user version.
Commissioners will discuss options with the prosecutor’s office to determine how best to address the bill, a portion of which must be paid in order for the website to remain operational.
Courtview contains all case information for the court system from 1992 through present day.
Reporter Matthew Merchant can be reached at 330-298-1127 or firstname.lastname@example.org.