County courthouse cuts back hours
State budget cuts have again hit in the offices of the Fifth Judicial District, which includes Eagle County.
The district, which also serves Summit, Lake and Clear Creek counties, this week announced it would cut back the hours its offices are open to the public. The new hours are 8 a.m. to noon, then 1 to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday. The court office in El Jebel will be open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
“We held off as long as we could,” said District Administrator Chris Yuhas. “A lot of other (judicial district) offices went to it earlier.”
Yuhas said earlier budget cuts had forced the offices to shutter their windows to the public during the noon hour due to the elimination of overtime pay. A hiring freeze left fewer district employees trying to help a constant or growing number of people.
With clerks still responsible for getting certain documents done on state-mandated deadlines, Yuhas said there was little choice but to close the offices to the public in order to give employees an hour a day of uninterrupted work time.
“A lot of our work has to be done within 24 hours,” said Yuhas. “These are things like warrants, restraining orders … these are public safety issues.” While the offices will be closed to the public at 4 p.m., court clerks and judges will still be available to police seeking warrants.
Yuhas added she believes the public has only begun to see cuts that affect them.
“I think people weren’t really seeing it,” she said of previous cuts. “I think they’ll see things like this more and more.”
Until the state’s budget rebounds, said Yuhas, “We’re just trying to find ways to get the job done with the people that we have.”
This story first appeared in the Eagle Valley Enterprise.