FINDLEY LAKE – As of January 1, there will be only one legal process before four different city courts.
On Tuesday, Denis Cooper was approved by voters to serve as municipal judge for Sherman, Clymer, French Creek and Mina as part of efforts to consolidate municipalities. Rebecca Brumagin, Mina’s supervisor, said each municipal court is still separate, but each municipality will share a single judge.
Earlier this year, each town entered into an intermunicipal agreement allowing the towns of Clymer, French Creek, Mina and Sherman to operate jointly from a single courthouse with a duly elected judge serving all four towns and to have the court located at the Mina Municipal Building, also known as the Community Building at Findley Lake. Consolidation saves money for every city.
In May, each municipality approved a self-reliance bill that was sent to Albany, asking the state legislature and governor to approve the consolidation of justice services. According to nysenate.gov, the legislation was approved by the Senate and State Assembly on June 10 and signed by the governor on July 1.
Because autonomy legislation was approved and enacted on August 1, the justice position was put to a vote on election day, with Cooper running unopposed.
Now that the deal has been approved by the state, the four cities will continue to maintain separate finances and case reports for their court and will retain their share of the fines imposed as required by New York State law. .
In early 2021, French Creek and Mina began sharing municipal justice after self-reliance legislation was approved by the state legislature and enacted by the governor last year.