Indiana county debates closing satellite courthouses

Indiana

CROWN POINT, Ind. (AP) — County government officials in Indiana are considering closing satellite courthouses in three cities.

The (Northwest Indiana) Times reports that Lake County Council voted 4-3 last week to study whether the superior courthouses in Gary, Hammond and East Chicago are worth the millions spent annually to maintain and operate them.

A consolidation is expected to save $1.9 million annually primarily through layoffs. The county has budgeted $5 million this year for utilities and services in the courthouses, including $500,000 in payroll for 20 janitors and maintenance workers.

The courthouses have seven superior court judges overseeing cases involving minor criminal charges, family law, child support and business disputes.

The consolidation doesn’t include city courts.

The Lake County Board of Commissioners will weigh in on the issue this week.

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