KELLER Terry Leake, assistant city manager/chief financial officer for Colleyville, gave an update recently on the combined municipal court operations between Colleyville and Keller — the state’s first dual-city court system.Leake gave the mid-year progress report to Keller City Council about how the system operated during the first six months. Both cities unanimously adopted the agreement in the spring of 2012 and appointed Judge Michael Newman on Aug. 21, 2012. The court became operational Oct.1. “This was done primarily because of the expansion that was going to occur over at the facility where the police department is,” Leake said. “In doing this, it did free up some space for that construction to be accomplished ... By combining courts, it was also able to give some savings.” Annual savings for Colleyville is expected to be an esimated $52,819 a year, with Keller expected to be about $146,875.Leake explained how the dockets work for each city, with Colleyville dockets held the first and second Thursday and Keller’s being held the third and fourth Thursday of each month.Since combining, the court operations have installed 13 security cameras, provided a bailiff in the courtroom and acquired new software used by both cities.“One of the things that drives any court is technology, given the number of citations the staff handles,” she said.As of June 30, Leake said Colleyville has issued 8,469 citations; Keller has issued 7,558.“We had some challenges,” she said. “But we were able to come together on this because we utilize the same prosecution services and the same collection.”Juvenile cases in each city also varied with 237 in Colleyville and 312 cases from Keller.To help with case loads, Leake said a juvenile case manager fee was approved by both cities.“Unfortunately in life, not everyone receives a citation for just running a stop sign,” she said. “Unfortunately, there are juveniles out there who come in for things like shoplifting or alcohol or tobacco use.”The case manager reviews cases and makes recommendations to the judge for diversion programs such as teen court, theft awareness program, first offenders program, anger management classes and treatment for behavioral problems.To reduce the number of outstanding warrants, increase collections and reduce jail costs, a warrant collection program was started offering programs and payment plans to clear up fees and cancel the warrants.The effort by both cities for the dual court system didn’t go unnoticed.Earlier this year, the North Central Texas Council of Governments' Regional Cooperation Award was given to Keller and Colleyville for becoming the first cities to merge a municipal court in the State of Texas.
Susan McFarland, 817-390-7547 Twitter: @susanmcfarland1