February 27, 2013 | LXXII, No. 48

City catching up on years of court billings

The city of Grand Coulee is busy unraveling four years and $70,000 worth of municipal court billings.

The money is in the bank, city clerk Carol Boyce stated, but the temporary clerk hired to do the work, Debra Pifer, now has to determine what goes where. The city, county and state all own a piece of the court money.

The municipal court handles tickets written by Grand Coulee police officers, and the money is supposed to be paid to the three entities -- city, county and state -- according to a formula that is based on the type and amount of the ticket.

The court-related money hasn’t been processed for the past four years.

Court is held on the fourth Friday of each month, with two judges sharing duties here. Judge Janis Whitener-Moberg presides over municipal court from January through June, and Judge Richard Fitterer handles the duties from July through December. Both come out of Ephrata.

Pifer, who until recently served as deputy clerk at Electric City, has been hired to catch up with the court work and has been at the job for about two weeks. She now will also serve as clerk of the court.

Pifer has started with the most recent court billings and is working her way back toward the oldest. She wasn’t able to determine how long the process would take.

The city recently had its problems with ambulance billing, losing an estimated $100,000-plus, because many billings had become outdated.

That lingered until Volunteer Fire Chief Rick Paris worked with a third party billing company to take on the task of trying to recover several years of billing.

Since that operation was started, the city has regularly been receiving current and many of the back billings that hadn’t been made.

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