EagleHerald staff writer

MENOMINEE — A new contract to fund the court-appointed attorneys from July to October will be presented to the Menominee County Board at its next meeting.

The Menominee County Finance Committee reviewed the funding proposed at its meeting Wednesday and has recommended approval of a contract for the next three months. 

This contract will be penned by Circuit Court Judge Mary B. Barglind, who expressed the need for a new contract and more funding for the court-appointed attorneys at Tuesday night’s County Board meeting. She also attended the Finance Committee meeting Wednesday and will present the new contract to the board June 26. 

The proposed contract would include $30,000 to fund the court-appointed attorneys until October, when the state grant money is expected to be received by the county. The funding of $10,000 a month for the next three months will be split between the five attorneys who provide services to indigent clients.

Those five attorneys were also present at the county board meeting Tuesday, and Attorney Karen Groenhout spoke on their behalf. In a story that was published Wednesday, calculations presented by both Barglind and Groenhout were incorrectly written. They both said that the current contract provides the attorneys an average $34 to $45 an hour to represent their clients, not the $34 to $35 that was written in Wednesday’s article. 

This new contract was originally intended to fund all three courts: Circuit, District and Probate/Family. However, after reviewing the budget, the committee realized that the District Court was actually under budget for this year and did not need the extra funding. Instead of dividing the $30,000 between the three courts, as Barglind had suggested, the committee opted to divide it between Circuit and Probate courts, only. 

Under these new terms, the Circuit Court will receive the most funding, at 70 percent, which will equal to about $21,000 for the next three months. The remainder will be given to Family and Probate Court, at 20 percent ($6,000) and 10 percent ($3,000), respectively. This will come out to about $7,000, $2,000 and $1,000 a month per court. 

The funding will be distributed as a flat rate per month.

The committee had to determine, before approving the funding where the money will come from. After reviewing the budget, and considering different options, the Finance Committee chose to take $30,000 out of the county reserves, so that no other area had to lose funding.

The new contract, if approved by the board June 26, will go into effect July 1.