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City of Kansas City, Mo.


City’s Municipal Court receives sustainable funds for specialty courts

The City of Kansas City, Mo., Municipal Court has secured a new steady source of funds to operate its specialty Mental Health, Drug and Veterans courts.

The new funding will come from increased court costs approved unanimously by the City Council on Sept. 12 pursuant to Missouri Revised Statute 488.2230, which was approved by the Missouri General Assembly earlier this year.

When the new surcharges take effect Sept. 30, court costs for moving and general ordinance violations will increase by $7 for a total of $41.50. Court costs for non-moving violations will increase by $3 for a total of $19.50.

The increases are expected to generate about $475,000 annually to be used exclusively for Kansas City’s specialty courts.

“This is a huge advance for justice in the City of Kansas City,” said the Municipal Court’s Presiding Judge Ardie Bland. “It is a cost offenders are paying that is going directly to make an impact on Kansas City. It is only right that offenders pay those costs and not general taxpayers.”

The specialty courts operate with grant funding assistance. The Mental Health Court has received about $1.5 million in grants since 2001. The Drug Court has received more than $1 million since 2006.

In the City’s specialty courts, offenders with minor infractions receive services like drug treatment, job training and mental health treatment in lieu of jail time or fines.

This approach, Bland said, saves taxpayers money by reducing recidivism and by cutting the volume of City services, like ambulances, utilized repeatedly by those whose violations really are more the result of unaddressed social, mental health or substance abuse problems.


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