Langley to pay more for prosecution services

After the county prosecutor made his case for the worth of his office’s work, Langley City Council members’ verdict was to significantly increase the amount the city pays for prosecution services.

Island County Prosecutor Greg Banks attended the city council’s regular meeting Monday to describe rising costs of prosecuting the city’s misdemeanors cases and to convince members to agree to an adjusted contract. The new agreement means the city will pay about 70 percent more per case.

“Statute requires us to charge what it costs us,” he said at the meeting.

His office had been handling cases for the city since 2004 and had been using the same contract since, with an annual escalation in costs. In 2018, the city paid $221 per case for 22 cases.

The new contract will charge $379.85 per case, based upon an analysis of the costs associated with prosecuting them.

The county updated its contract with the Town of Coupeville last year for the same rate. Banks said he wanted to expedite Langley’s process in the interest of fairness.

When it comes to dealing with misdemeanor cases, municipalities have the option to have a city attorney and their own court to process cases or contract with county prosecuting attorney’s offices.

The Island County Prosecutor’s Office handles felony crime, as well as civil cases against the county.

The only statute that remains in Langley’s criminal code is regarding the criminality of using a pellet gun, BB gun or slingshot, Mayor Tim Callison said at the meeting. The city decided in 2004 to not have its own city attorney.

The contract amount will increase with inflation every year, with a 3.5 percent cap.

Council members unanimously approved the change.

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