Savings from weekend court closings now $500k — not $1.9 million planned
Updated: May 21, 2012 8:18AM
A wrinkle in the cost-saving plan to close Cook County’s suburban courthouses on weekends has been ironed out, officials say — but the county won’t see anywhere near as much savings as what was originally estimated at nearly $2 million.
Under the original plan, five suburban courthouses would have been closed on weekends, requiring local police would to take arrestees facing charges to the Criminal Courts Building at 26th Street and California in Chicago.
But after the Bridgeview courthouse shut down in January, the closings of the remaining four were halted after suburban authorities balked at the measure that had been pushed by County Board President Toni Preckwinkle and approved by commissioners during 2012 budget negotiations.
Local authorities complained about the cost and time it take them to transport suspects from their respective burgs to Chicago.
But a under a plan hatched Tuesday morning, local authorities agreed to take detainees to the Markham and Maywood courthouses, which house 24-hour lockups. From there, the Cook County sheriff’s office would transport those facing charges for bond hearings to the courthouse at 26th and California. Suburban towns will not have to pay for the sheriff’s transport of prisoners to Chicago.
In the end, the suburban courthouses would remain closed for weekend bond hearings and weddings — which will still save some money, but not as much as originally announced, said Cook County Commissioner Peter N. Silvestri, of Elmwood Park, who worked on the deal.
While the original plan would have saved the county $1.9 million, officials now expect to save just $500,000 this year. The savings next year is estimated at $1.6 million, Silvestri said.