Michelle R. Miller, Clerk & Comptroller, St. Lucie County
Since I’ve had the honor to be sworn in as your Clerk & Comptroller in January, we’ve implemented new services designed to improve the way we serve the public. We’ve increased our service hours, hired staff for essential services, and launched a partnership with Turbo Court to help you file cases easier. While these positive changes have improved the way you receive services, Clerk’s offices statewide are facing immediate funding issues because of a broken, dated system.
If you have ever paid a traffic ticket, fine, or court cost, you have directly funded the operations of the Clerk’s office. If that source of funding seems weird to you, it’s because it is. Over the past eight years, Florida Clerk budgets have declined by $50.6 million while statutory duties and populations have grown. The services we provide to the public, such as record keeping, officiating marriage licenses, and collecting payments for the courts, are just a few of the public services our
county needs to function.
COVID-19 has put Clerk budgets on a fast track to disaster. Around the state, Clerk’s offices have been forced to reduce their budgets by half in just one-quarter of the pandemic. Cutting budgets that intensely means reducing hours to the public and letting staff go, which heavily delay critical services you depend on.
Together, we can fix this issue. There are currently two bills looking to change our funding, Florida House Bill 903 and Florida Senate Bill 838. By directly addressing the funding issue, these two bills look to establish better stability for Clerks services. If enacted, Clerks will be able to carry revenues forward into the next year, submit funding requests for services that fall outside normal revenue streams, and enhance payment options for customers, which will help reduce our driver license suspension rate. I ask that you’ll use your voice to spread awareness of this issue and reach out to
your elected officials to help fix this problem. It’s critical that your court system works for you.