Madison County is shutting down its satellite courtroom at Collinsville City Hall.
But the circuit clerk’s office will base a full-time staff member at Collinsville City Hall. According to a joint press release from the city and the circuit clerk, the employee will “provide access to the court system for citizens of Collinsville and the surrounding area.”
The move is an effort to “streamline Madison County Circuit Court operations,” according to the news release.
“Our employee will provide services including accepting payments for fines and costs, conducting record searches and other court business pursuant to Illinois state statute. The public will actually have increased access to the clerk’s office in Collinsville for all five days of the week rather than just once a week,” said Madison County Circuit Clerk Mark Von Nida.
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The Collinsville City Council will consider executing a memorandum of understanding between the city and the circuit clerk at its Monday night meeting.
Like Granite City and Alton, Collinsville currently has traffic court once a week, three times a month
Keeping the Collinsville satellite courtroom operational at the City Hall would have required a $300,000 renovation to keep the space compliant, the circuit clerk’s office said.
In January, Von Nida spoke against closing the Collinsville courtroom, saying it would be an inconvenience for residents of the Collinsville and Troy areas. But he said he understands the city’s position regarding the need for renovations, the large amount of space and liability issues involving possible security breaches. Ultimately, he said, it wasn’t up to him whether court would be held in Collinsville’s City Hall in the future.
“The city doesn’t want to have the court there, and it’s their building,” Von Nida said. “Having said that, I sought to make the best of a bad situation. I’m really happy with the idea that we will be in the city hall full-time, five days a week, to provide service to the citizens.”
All court proceedings being held at the Collinsville City Hall are scheduled to be moved to the Madison County Courthouse in Edwardsville on July 1. Von Nida said the chief judge’s office has arranged for those court proceedings to have a separate docket day in the courthouse to minimize the hassle for those who must do business with the court.
Collinsville Mayor John Miller called the new approach “a rare opportunity for both parties to save money and provide better services to the public. This is truly a win-win.”
Miller said the city “has been in dire need for better space to conduct meetings with our boards and commissions for several years, and this move allows us to truly have a unique space that can adapt to our changing needs for meeting space.”
The court occupied about a quarter of the space for City Hall and yet was used only one day per week, Miller said.