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Why can’t court fees be increased to provide funding for a new courthouse?

State law requires that the county provide and maintain an adequate courthouse for the operations of the court system, which is a state operation. The state funds most of the court’s day-to-day operating expenses, but requires the county to fund construction and maintenance costs for the building. However, the state law does not authorize any funding sources for the courthouse. State laws do restrict the types of fees and taxes that the county can levy or charge, prohibiting the county from having any income related fees or fees that are excise taxes. Fees or fees for service would not be available for the county since the services are provided primarily by state operations and, in any event, would not be sufficient to cover the costs for a courthouse. The state does already impose some fees on attorneys and fines for criminals, which the state uses to fund court operations. The only sources available to the county to fund the courthouse are real estate taxes or sales taxes. The Board concluded that a sales tax limited to 10 years was preferable to a mill levy increase.