Town of Cortlandt’s Position Statement on Village Court Dissolution

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In response to recent articles and editorials published in this paper, I thought it appropriate that the Town of Cortlandt provide a position statement on the possible dissolution of the Croton Justice Court. Simply put, the Town Board and I are neither formally supporting nor opposing this proposal.

The town has been advised of the deliberations that have been ongoing within the Village of Croton-on-Hudson for the past few weeks about the potential abolishment of its Justice Court. As a cost-savings measure and as part of the general move toward municipal cooperation, the village approached the Cortlandt Town Board to investigate this option. As discussions progressed, one point became clear: under state law, this is purely a village decision. If Croton-on-Hudson abolishes its Justice Court, then by law, the town MUST assume responsibility by providing this necessary service. The town has no role or authority to influence this decision; we simply respond to whatever is decided by the village.

Further, the town does not want to interfere with the Village Board’s deliberation. We encourage the Village Board to allow for ample public comment, and if it does vote to abolish the Village Court, then beginning Jan. 1, 2023, the town will carry out its legal responsibility to ensure that appropriate and adequate court services are provided. 

It would be anticipated that the town would hire many of the Village Court staff, including clerks and the prosecutor, so that most jobs would be maintained. The costs of these positions would be covered by revenue generated by fines and fees. Our financial analysis indicates a definite cost savings for the village, and for Cortlandt, the fines and fees would cover expenses. Hence, it is financially neutral for the town.

The Town of Cortlandt will respond to whatever the Village Board and residents determine is best for the village. We offer our full support and will be ready to proceed with whatever is decided.

Richard H. Becker, M.D.
Town of Cortlandt

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