Plover On Board: Village Approves Municipal Court
Left, Plover Village President Dan Schlutter. (City-Times photo)
“It’s going to be interesting; this is all brand new.” -Village Trustee Tom Davies
By Brandi Makuski
The Plover Village Board has formally adopted an ordinance creating a new municipal court.
The ordinance mirrors one passed by the City of Stevens Point last month, implementing a third branch of government held jointly between the two municipalities- one that will preside over ordinance violations such as speeding, disorderly conduct and first offense OWI.
Plover Police Chief Dwayne Wierzba said the new court won’t bring as much revenue to the village because Plover has fewer university students living within village limits.
“We don’t have that college population the city does, so we don’t have a lot of ordinance violations per se,” Wierzba said. “But there are advantages; when you start looking at the inner- personal relationships of a municipal court judge who’s there for a four- year time frame, and the one-on-one attention, there’s a personal touch that can be applied to that part of it.”
“But we’re (the police department) technically out of the loop, per se, because we’re in the enforcement aspect and can’t be a part of the judicial aspect. My involvement is advisory,” he added.
The Village Board Wednesday night also approved appointing Village President Dan Schlutter and Trustee Tom Davies to a judicial oversight committee, which will be responsible for the court’s annual budget as well as appointing its first judge. The two men will complete the oversight committee, which also includes Stevens Point Mayor Andrew Halverson, Alderman Mike Wiza and City Councilwoman Joanne Suomi.
Village Administrator Dan Mahoney said Tom Davies was chosen because of his experience with Portage County JusticeWorks. Davies has also served on the Plover Finance Committee.
Tom Davies was chosen because “he’s been involved with some of the issues with JusticeWorks through Portage County so he became involved in the legal system at the county. We felt that gave him a good background for municipal court.
Davies said he’s never worked on a joint committee with city leaders.
“It’s going to be a learning process as we get into it. I think it’s a good way to go, to free up some of the other court time downtown. It’s a common sense approach and if it doesn’t go the way we want it to, we can always change (the ordinance),” Davies said.