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Ferrelview will keep
its municipal court

Having cases heard in Platte County Circuit was an option

by Ivan Foley
Landmark reporter

The Village of Ferrelview's Board of Trustees decided against the recommendation of one of its members and will continue to operate its own municipal court.

The action came Tuesday night at a meeting of the governing body for the small village located just east of KCI Airport in Platte County.

Trustee Mickey Vulgamott presented a recommendation to discontinue the city's court system and instead have city offenses heard by a judge in the Platte County Circuit Court. Vulgamott said her proposal would allow the village to eliminate its court clerk and judge positions while "still getting our revenue."

Terry Keller, chairman of the board of trustees, disagreed.

"I don't think we're going to get our revenue that way," Keller said.

Keller said with a city court, Ferrelview is able to set the amount of its fines, and the fines help support the village's police department, which consists of one full time officer and one reserve officer.

Scott Campbell, who has just recently been hired as Ferrelview's city attorney, strongly recommended against doing away with the city court.

"The City of Tracy tried that and it failed miserably," Campbell said, adding that a previous Ferrelview administration had also eliminated its court before taking it back. "Both Tracy and Ferrelview tried it and have taken it back," he said.

Campbell, who in his role as Ferrelview's attorney will also serve as prosecutor in its city court, said there are many offenses that would get tried in a city court that might not get taken as seriously in a state level court.

He explained nuisance cases and dog violations are two examples of violations more likely to be taken seriously in a city court.

"If you really want your local laws enforced you need to keep it here and need to keep your own judge," Campbell told the board of trustees.

After discussion, Trustee Dean Bryan said he valued Campbell's opinion and said he favored keeping the municipal court.

Trustee Phyllis Casey said she favored keeping the municipal court because she doesn't want city law violations "to be thought of as petty."

Vulgamott then withdrew her recommendation, saying: "I want to hold off and see Scott at work" as city prosecutor.

In other business, the board agreed that once she becomes bonded, city clerk Rebekah Morehead will also serve as city treasurer. Morehead should know in a couple of weeks whether she has received the necessary approval for bonding.

Phyllis Filley, who is bonded, will continue to serve as interim city treasurer until Morehead becomes bonded. Filley is also the clerk for the city's municipal court.

In another matter, Vulgamott said she would like to see the city clerk work more from home and not maintain as many hours at city hall. She said a contact number where the clerk could be reached could be posted at city hall and residents needing to contact the clerk could call that number.

"It might be more cost effective that way. She sits here by herself much of the time," Vulgamott said.

Morehead had been putting in about 20 hours per week before a recent maternity leave. She said she is now putting in 20-25 hours every two weeks as she works to get her schedule back to normal.

After discussion, it was agreed Vulgamott would put together a proposal of hours for the clerk and report back to the board at the next meeting.