A battle over court costs, 22 years and counting, played out at the Ada County Courthouse today.
With Ada County on one side, and Meridian and Garden City on the other, the cities presented proposals for building their own court facilities before a panel of district judges.
The cities have an idea of where these courthouses will go and how they operate. But both say they don’t see the need for this today.
This legal battle dates back to a 1994 court order that says the cities need to provide magistrate court facilities to handle cases in their jurisdiction.
These are cases that range from traffic violations, to small claims to misdemeanor criminal cases.
Currently, Ada County provides this service to both cities.
So the cities had two options to comply with the 1994 court order.
One option -- each city could build its own courthouse.
The other option-- pay Ada County for providing these services.
Both cities decided building their own court facilities would be more cost effective than paying Ada County for providing the service.
However, the mayors for Garden City and Meridian have long argued either choice is unfair because their citizens will have to pay twice for services they already pay for in county taxes. They say this is a county issue and needs to be handled that way.
"We believe there is a better solution and it can be found for funding our courts,” said Meridian Mayor Tammy de Weerd. “If the courts, and I would ask the courts to direct the county and the state to find a countywide solution to pay for courts that is for all residents of our county."
Ada County says it just wants the cities to comply the 1994 court order.
Meridian and Garden City are targeted because Ada County says they are both significant contributors to the number of magistrate court cases.
"It is not because Ada County wants Meridian city to pay or Garden City to pay, it's because the court ordered on August 12, 1994, for the cities, Garden City, Meridian city to provide magistrate court services," said Heather McCarthy representing Ada County.
No decision was made today.
The judges will take this matter under advisement and say they will make a decision as soon as they can.