Stow Muni Court awarded court technology grant

Kent Weeklies
The Stow Municipal Court

Some assistance is on its way to the Stow Municipal Court thanks to the Supreme Court of Ohio’s 2021 Technology Grant initiative.

Earlier this year, the judges and staff submitted two project proposals to the Supreme Court of Ohio for consideration this funding period. On May 20, Judges Kim Hoover and Lisa Coates were notified that the Stow Municipal Court was awarded a total of $25,977.46 to fund both projects.

The majority of the funding will be used to pay for a major upgrade to the court’s computer network and infrastructure. This will include replacing much of the existing network hardware and cabling, as well as extending the wireless network access throughout the courthouse complex.

“Judge Coates and I are grateful that the Supreme Court has made the funds available to facilitate the upgrade to our network. This will be the first major upgrade since the court opened over 11 years ago,” Hoover said. “Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, our staff has been innovative in its use of technology to keep the wheels of justice turning. This upgrade will help further those efforts, as well as enhance our operations and allow for greater public access to court services.”

The second project receiving funding is a yearlong pilot program that will enable the court to use text message notifications to remind defendants of upcoming court appearances and due dates for defendants on payment plans. The grant funding will cover the first-year expenses for the program.

“We are thrilled to offer this new service to individuals with cases coming through the court,” said Clerk Amber Zibritosky. “Businesses around the country have used text notification reminders for customer appointments with great success.  We hope our text reminders will have similar results by boosting court attendance and reducing the issuance of bench warrants.”

The Stow Municipal Court will be the first municipal court in Summit County to utilize automated texting notifications. The clerk’s office recently completed testing and plans to fully launch this new service later this month. 

“These funds are coming at a perfect time. As the court continues to navigate a precarious financial situation, grants like this are essential to allowing the court to make upgrades and invest in new technology that keeps moving us forward,” Coates said. “Judge Hoover and I are proud of the hard work put in by our staff to secure these funds and improve the quality of service we can provide to users of the court.”

Along with the funds awarded to the Stow Municipal Court, the Supreme Court of Ohio awarded funding for 140 projects to courts across the state, totaling $8,650,796.04.

The Stow Municipal Court serves those who reside and travel through the 16 communities of northern Summit County which includes: Boston Township, Boston Heights, Cuyahoga Falls, Hudson, Macedonia, Munroe Falls, Northfield Village, Northfield Center Township, Peninsula, Reminderville, Sagamore Hills Township, Silver Lake, Stow, Tallmadge, Twinsburg, and Twinsburg Township.