By Kris Leonhardt
MARSHFIELD — During recent municipal meetings, the city of Marshfield and village of Spencer approved agreements to add the village of Stratford to the existing joint court system.
“For many years the city of Marshfield has operated a municipal court here, and it is for the tickets and ordinance violations that come up from time to time. We have our own municipal judge that hears them here,” said Marshfield City Administrator Steve Barg. “That keeps our residents and our officers from having to travel to Wisconsin Rapids, and it saves cost, and it allows the city to keep more of the revenues since we would have to pay the county a fee also for using their court services.
“A couple of years ago, the village of Spencer said, ‘We would like to get in on that,’ and we worked it out to where we created a joint municipal court between the city of Marshfield and the village of Spencer.
“We are wrapping up our second year here in 2017, and it has been a very successful partnership. The residents of Spencer and those who have been receiving tickets there are glad to come only 9 miles to Marshfield rather than going farther away and having more travel time. … And the same thing with Spencer, they get to keep a portion of the revenue generated from these citations.
“So it continues to grow. Now the village of Stratford has said they would like to be in rather than sending their officers and residents to Wausau. It appears that they write the same rough number of citations as the village of Spencer: around 200 a year, which is dwarfed by our total at our police department of roughly 2,500 a year.”
Earlier this summer, the Spencer Village Board of Trustees amended its agreement with Marshfield for the existing joint court to include the village of Stratford. The matter went to the board Oct. 9 and was unanimously approved.
During its Oct. 17 meeting, Marshfield’s Finance, Budget, and Personnel Committee approved an agreement to incorporate the Stratford into the joint court system. The agreement and first reading of the resolution went to the Marshfield Common Council at its Oct. 24 meeting.
If passed, Stratford will be incorporated into the system Jan. 1, 2018.