The Center Township Board on Wednesday approved a plan to move the township’s small claims court from the downtown Indianapolis City-County Building to the Julia M. Carson Government Center despite a judge's objection.
Board members approved the move by a vote of 5-1, with one abstention. Moving the court does not need approval from the City-County Council.
The move could be completed by the end of the year and before the county increases the court’s rent 5 percent. The court currently pays $16,701 annually to lease its space.
IBJ on Monday reported Trustee Eugene Akers’ plan to move the court against Judge Michelle Smith Scott’s wishes. The judge cited security reasons among her objections to the move.
The court is the city’s oldest of nine township small claims courts and is the only one located in the City-County Building, where it’s been housed since the 28-story building opened in 1962.
The proposal calls for the court to take the 2,200-square-foot space vacated by 300 East, a restaurant and bar at the Carson Center that closed Sept. 1. The small claims court now occupies 1,600 square feet in the basement of the City-County Building.
Akers said the township could save money if the court moves rent-free to the township-owned Carson Center on Fall Creek Parkway. Akers estimated the cost to move the court and renovate and furnish the space at $459,000.
Akers is bracing for a 15-percent budget cut of $1.3 million next year, due to a continued loss of funds from property taxes, which make up local government’s largest source of revenue.