From the Orange County Newsroom
The Orange County Clerk of Courts has averted closing offices and implementing furloughs after the Orange County Board of Commissioners voted to approve $1.5 million in emergency relief funding for the Clerk’s Office.
This relief funding means the Clerk’s Office will be able to continue to operate during regular business hours Monday through Friday for all services which are normally provided.
“I am very grateful the Board of County Commissioners recognized our urgent need,” said Clerk Tiffany Moore Russell. "This relief funding helps avert a major impact on the public and courts as my office provides critical and essential services per statute, to circuit and county courts. This action also helps my staff avoid any potential financial hardship that the furlough would have created.”
“The Orange County Clerk of Courts has always worked hard to provide exceptional service to its customers,” said Mayor Jerry L. Demings. “This money will help ease the unexpected financial burden caused by the pandemic and allow the Clerk’s Office to continue its important operations.”
The effect COVID-19 has had on Florida’s Clerks of Court has been severe, because of the unique way the offices are funded under Florida law. Clerks have no statutory authority to create or maintain a reserve or emergency fund. Clerks are funded by fines, fees, and court costs which they collect, that have been greatly reduced during the pandemic.
The pandemic has created a major financial challenge for Clerks of the Court across the state requiring a $60 million statewide reduction in operating budgets. This resulted in a cut of $3.9 million to the Orange County Clerk’s court operations budget. This amounts to a 53.04% cut to the Orange County Clerks’ 4th quarter budget.
While this emergency funding is a significant relief for the Orange County Clerk, Clerk’s Offices across the state continue to work closely with the Governor’s Office to try and obtain other relief funding to fill the gap.