W.Va. courts submit their budget cuts to Gov. Manchin

John O'Brien Jan. 6, 2010, 2:58pm


CHARLESTON, W.Va. (Legal Newsline) - The West Virginia courts system will continue to reduce its budget by $2 million, Supreme Court Chief Justice Robin Davis said Wednesday.

The decision comes in response to a request by Gov. Joe Manchin, who ordered budget cuts to all executive branches of state government last month. Davis said the courts system reduced its budget request for Fiscal Year 2010 by $2 million to $117.9 million, and will again request that amount for FY 2011.

Lower revenue projections caused Manchin to order the cuts.

"The budget appropriation for the entire court system of West Virginia, including our magistrates, family courts, circuit courts, probation officers, the Supreme Court and our administrative staff, represents less than 3 percent of the state's general revenue budget," Davis said.

"The Court takes its responsibility to manage taxpayer dollars seriously. We always have a tight budget. It was not easy to come up with this mid-year budget cut, but we were able to do so without reducing services or making any personnel cuts."

Suffering most will be the technology budget, slowing installation of a statewide Unified Judicial Application computer system.

Court administrator Steve Canterbury said day-to-day operations won't change for West Virginians.

"Whether it's access to the courts, the domestic violence registry, probation services, or the myriad other work done by the courts and their administration, people will still get the excellent service they've come to expect from the judicial branch," Canterbury said.

From Legal Newsline: Reach John O'Brien by e-mail at jobrienwv@gmail.com.

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