A bill passed on the Senate Floor today that allows the Polk County Law Library to transfer up to half of its fiscal reserves up to $150,000 to Polk County for courthouse technological improvements. It also allows the Itasca County Board of Commissioners to add presently unorganized territory into Harris Township, upon the adoption of a resolution from the township board.
Senator Ron Latz, DFL-Saint Louis Park, released the following statement:
“The Polk County board is raiding the library account to pay for general courthouse tech upgrades. The library account is statutorily dedicated to paying for the library. It is funded by a law library fee paid by people who access the justice system to resolve civil disputes and by people who pay traffic/criminal fines. The county board sets the library fee amount every year. Rather than reduce the fee because they had so much extra money in the account, they would rather keep unsuspecting people paying the ‘law library fee’ and use it for something else. It is listed on the schedule of fees paid by civil filers and fine-payers as a law library fee, so redirecting its use is deceptive, too, lacking in transparency and accountability.
This is like using Health Care Access Fund dollars to pay for highway improvements to reduce car accident injuries and subsequent health care costs – the connection is that tenuous and the use is deceptive. The counties/county taxpayers in general are supposed to pay directly for their courthouse infrastructure. This bill shouldn’t have happened. As you can see, Sherburne County pulled the same stunt and that is now being used as a precedent for Polk County. This will further set a bad precedent.”