The Humboldt County courthouse will be open two hours longer to the public each weekday effective Feb. 3, officials announced last Tuesday.
The clerk’s office - where people go to view court records, pay traffic tickets and file documents for cases - will be open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., according to a courthouse press release.
Court executive officer Kerri Keenan said the state Legislature allocated $60 million in new funding in fiscal year 2013-2014 to the judicial branch with a stipulation that it be used to “increase access.”
Humboldt County chose to use its $174,000 portion to expand hours.
”We’re here to serve the public, so it doesn’t feel good when you have to cut back on your hours, which means you’re cutting back on services,” Keenan said.
While the court did receive some additional funding, it is still $725,000 in the hole from where it was four years ago due to ongoing reductions, Keenan said.
No positions have been unfrozen as a result of the additional funding, but those still employed have seen their hours increase from 37.5 a week to 40.
The clerk’s office hours were reduced after the California Judicial Branch saw unprecedented funding reductions in 2011, the release said.