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BEAVER DAM MUNICIPAL COURT (copy)

Mayville is moving toward joining the Beaver Dam municipal court instead of having residents handle violations at the Dodge County Circuit Court in Juneau. Officials say the change would save residents money and be more convenient. 

MAYVILLE — The Mayville Common Council approved an ordinance Monday that would allow the city to join the Beaver Dam municipal court, meaning Mayville residents would go to Beaver Dam for court proceedings over traffic and other municipal citations, instead of the Dodge County Circuit Court in Juneau.

The Beaver Dam Court already covers the town of Beaver Dam, city of Waupun and the joint Police Department of Neosho, Rubicon and Ashippun. All those communities also have to pass an ordinance to allow Mayville to join.

Joining the municipal court would save money for residents on most citations. For example, a basic speeding violation could drop from over $170 to about $90. Many of the fees in circuit court are not included in municipal court.

Mayville Police Chief Jim Ketchem said Mayville has essentially been invited to participate in the court and the city should be able to join in the fall.

His department would save on overtime for police officers, who would no longer have to be present in court for initial appearances, and would save about $4,800 in attorney’s fees. The city would receive $5 more from fines than it does now in circuit court, Ketchem said, and people are more likely to pay up with the lower fine costs.

He said fines for marijuana possession and drug paraphernalia would rise, but could be reduced if people attend court-ordered counseling.

Mayville Mayor Rob Boelk said a major advantage is that municipal court has evening hours for residents to attend.

“It would be better for our residents to go after work (rather) than taking a day off to go to court,” he said.

Ketchem said that also would help with school-age children who receive citations, because they wouldn’t have to miss school to attend court.

Mayville residents will have the ability to vote for the judge in Beaver Dam Court. A resident can still appeal to circuit court if not satisfied with a municipal court ruling.

Citations dealt with in Beaver Dam municipal court do not appear on the statewide computer court records system, though they are still public records open to anyone who requests them.

Boelk said the city looked at joining Horicon’s municipal court, but it didn’t have room for Mayville. Ketchem said the Horicon court has a part-time clerk, and adding Mayville would require a full-time clerk, which the court did not want to move toward.

Ketchem said he thinks the extra few miles to Beaver Dam are worth it, “unless you have a very poor gas mileage on your vehicle,” he joked.

Follow Chris Higgins on Twitter @chris_higgins_ or contact him at 920-356-6751 and chiggins@wiscnews.com.

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