Monday, July 28, 2014

County OKs lower pay for jurors

By DYLAN LYSEN, Herald Staff Writer | 6/6/2014

To free room in the county budget, the Franklin County Board of Commissioners approved a resolution this week to lower the reimbursement for those who serve jury duty in the county.

During Wednesday’s meeting, the board passed a resolution lowering the reimbursements from $40 a day to $10 the first day of duty and $20 for every subsequent day. The new rate is consistent with those offered by surrounding counties, Lisa Johnson, county administrator, said. The resolution was approved because of “increasing demands on the county budget,” according to county documents.

To free room in the county budget, the Franklin County Board of Commissioners approved a resolution this week to lower the reimbursement for those who serve jury duty in the county.

During Wednesday’s meeting, the board passed a resolution lowering the reimbursements from $40 a day to $10 the first day of duty and $20 for every subsequent day. The new rate is consistent with those offered by surrounding counties, Lisa Johnson, county administrator, said. The resolution was approved because of “increasing demands on the county budget,” according to county documents.

It’s impossible to know how many jurors the county would need to reimburse in the future, Johnson said, but the county expects to save between $15,000 to $20,000 annually.

“That would be speculative at best due to the fact that we don’t know how many jury trials there will be,” she said. “We believe it will save between $15,000 to $20,000 a year. That will be entirely dependent on how many and how long jury trials will be.”

Along with the lowered price for daily reimbursements, the resolution raises the amount for traveling reimbursements. Jurors who will have to travel from outside the Ottawa city limits will be reimbursed 55 cents per mile. The rate was set at 47 cents per mile before the resolution.

“That was raised to reflect the current IRS rate,” Johnson said.

Johnson said during the Wednesday meeting the new rate was consistent with surrounding counties and the $20 figure is more than the $10 minimum many counties have elected to use. The resolution will go into affect July 1, she said.

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