Two more Fresno County courthouses close

August 6, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
Two more Fresno County courthouses are closed after state budget cuts forced officials to lock the doors to each branch office. That makes seven total closures in the past week.

Fresno's Ray Bagtas couldn't pay off his traffic ticket in Clovis. He and others like him found out the hard way Monday morning that the Clovis division of the Fresno County Superior Court closed last Friday. Now he has to travel to the traffic courthouse on M Street and Tuolumne in Downtown Fresno to pay off his fine.

Bagtas said, "It's too because it's harder to park. To get a parking space. But in here it's nice. You can park anywhere you want."

Fresno County announced these closures back in May, when state budget cuts forced the shutdown of seven branches. Some of them as far as 70 miles away from Downtown Fresno.

Judge Gary Hoff says the county had no choice but to cut back on services. But he says at the very least, people can take care of their traffic tickets online in both English and Spanish through the county's website.

"The process is very user friendly," Judge Gary Hoff said. "We've had access to our website for sometime now. That hasn't changed. The informations there. We can walk through the process."

The pitch to use online services added with branch consolidation is a tactic used to try and erase a $26.5 million deficit. These cuts will help but there's still a long way to go.

People can now go to the main courthouse's action center for felony and misdemeanor cases. And they can go to BF Sisk courthouse to take care of probate and other civil hearings.

"We've had some glitches. But I think overall we have been fairly successful in making the transition. And we're looking forward to you know to doing the best we can with the facilities and the resources we have from these locations as opposed to the outlying courts."

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