Saginaw county has moved to access $200,000 worth of American Rescue Plan Act funds to continue off-site court hearings.
The money would be going towards renting the space needed to hold trials at the Horizons conference center in Saginaw township, setting up video conferencing technology, and providing Saginaw County Sheriff’s deputies resources to provide adequate security.
State and County health officials say the Saginaw County courthouse doesn’t offer enough space to safely seat a jury, prosecutors and defendants under current COVID-19 rules.
County commissioners Dennis Kraft and Mike Webster agree that, like the pandemic, the issue has been going on for longer than anyone had anticipated- which is starting to cost the county big money.
Webster adds while the change may not be ideal, it may be a glimpse at where the future of county matters are heading, considering space limitations in many areas of the courthouse.
County trials had been on hold for more than a year following pandemic related delays.
Resuming at available space in the Dow event center in March; Hearings were put on hold again after an increase in COVID-19 infections this summer, before the County moved cases to the Horizons Conference Center in July.