Whitley District Court Judge Cathy Prewitt will be moving her courtroom to the judicial center in Williamsburg effective July 1.
At Monday’s regular meeting of the Corbin City Commission, the commissioners approved a new agreement with the Administrative Office of the Courts for the rental space of the district clerk’s office.
The new agreement does not include the courtroom space where Prewitt had been holding district and juvenile court.
“It is what it is,” said Corbin Mayor Suzie Razmus.
Court officials said that the district clerk’s office would continue to issue and renew driver’s licenses for residents of Knox, Laurel and Whitley County. In addition, district court paperwork may still be filed at that location. The six-person staff would continue to process and maintain court files for the northern part of Whitley County.
The AOC had sent a letter in January notifying the city of the intention to close the office located in the old Corbin City Hall.
In the letter, AOC officials stated that changes to driver’s licenses requiring renewal every eight years as opposed to four would decrease traffic to the office.
In addition, AOC officials cited security issues at the Corbin location, noting the multiple entrances to the building and lack of a security checkpoint.
“We understand that this may be an inconvenience for citizens who visit the Corbin office and share your concerns about making this change,” AOC officials stated in the letter. “However, we want to assure the public that the Whitley County Office of Circuit Court Clerk in Williamsburg provides comprehensive services for driver’s licenses, District Court and Circuit Court, and has the capacity to adequately serve the citizens of Whitley County.”
City officials appealed to local legislators. Senate President Robert Stivers, R-Manchester, and State Rep. Regina Bunch Huff, R-Williamsburg, were able to secure $50,000 in state funding during the recent legislative session to keep the office operating through June 30, 2020.
In addition, language added to HB 355 required the AOC to keep the Corbin office open.
The AOC had previously paid rent for the space of $100,000.
It had sought to retain the use of the space, rent free.
Prewitt had expressed her concerns over closing the location.
“It would be a travesty for the people in northern Whitley County not to have court in Corbin,” Prewitt said.