In response to concerns that were brought up at Monday night’s Zanesville City Council meeting regarding the potential merger of the Zanesville Municipal and Muskingum County court systems, State Representative Brian Hill addressed the issue. Rep. Hill said the "general idea" of merging both court systems has been discussed for years. With Muskingum County being the only county in the area with both a municipal and county court system, Hill said a study approved by the county commissioners is in progress to see if a merger would be the right decision.
"There’s nothing secretive about this bill, once it becomes public it’s out in the open and we want discussion on it," explained Rep. Hill. "And if the county and the city want a different form of this, and again, it’s a draft form, we can change and amend this, it has a long way to go yet."
Hill said the merger would likely lessen the need for some positions, but said the main goal is to save tax payer dollars. Because it is "strictly a draft," and does not have any sponsors, Hill said there is plenty of time for revisions.
"And at the end of the day, residents of this county and city that want to see two court systems, then I guess we can keep it that way. But right now we’ve got his draft they can look through. A bill hasn’t been sponsored yet and when it does, there will be committee hearings, there will be a long process to go through, through the house, plus it’ll have to go through the senate before any of that becomes a law. So there’s a long process yet and plenty of time for input."
Hill also addressed the idea of a seven-person panel that was brought up at Monday night’s meeting, saying he is unaware of such a panel.