Pierce County District Court, which handles more than 175,000 cases a year, is saving taxpayer money by consolidating operations.
Effective Monday, Jan. 9, the court's traffic and civil calendars moved to newly renovated courtrooms on the first floor of the County-City Building. That's a result of the closure last month of the branch court on 96th Street in Tacoma (aka the Hosmer building) that had operated for 15 years.
In December, District Court's administrative offices and public counter moved from Room 601 on the sixth floor of the County-City Building to Room 239 on the second floor. Bringing the Hosmer staff into the County-City Building provides more flexibility to handle the high volume of cases.
"The Court recognizes its obligation to the taxpayers to provide the most efficient and cost effective service possible. In light of that obligation, we began this restructuring plan two years ago," said District Court Presiding Judge Pat O'Malley. "We were successful due to the hard work and cooperation of our staff. The final result shows that county government is committed to employing innovative measures just as private business does."
District Court hears such issues as traffic infractions, criminal misdemeanors, civil damages under $75,000, name changes and anti-harassment protection orders. The court has 102 employees, including eight judges, and an annual budget of $12.2 million.
County Executive Pat McCarthy made the decision to close the Hosmer branch, which saves $300,000 a year in ongoing maintenance costs. The 14,700-square-foot building is listed for sale at $1.9 million.
Chuck Ramey, District Court administrator
Hunter George, Pierce County Communications director