A wave of court closures in the Valley has come to Kings County.
Kings County Superior Court will close its Lemoore courthouse Sept. 10 to save money, court executive officer Todd Barton said Thursday.
Additionally, three employees are being laid off as of July 27.
"It's really tough," Barton said. "This is the most severe crisis we have ever faced."
Satellite courts in Avenal and Corcoran will stay open, but more cost-cutting is expected next year, he said.
The closure follows similar announcements by Fresno and Tulare counties' superior courts.
Courts in Coalinga, Firebaugh, Reedley, Sanger and Selma are closing July 30; the Clovis and Kingsburg courts are closing Aug. 6; and the Tulare courthouse will close Aug. 31.
In Tulare County, 26 people, including a court commissioner, got layoff slips.
Family law matters in Lemoore will transfer to Hanford and Corcoran.
The traffic window will also close. Payments for Lemoore must be made in Hanford, Barton said.
No criminal matters were handled in Lemoore.
The state budget crisis is at the root of the cuts. Courts get funding from the Administrative Office of the Courts, which gets state money to oversee the court system statewide.
In Kings County, $1.3 million is being trimmed from the budget in 2012-13. The court's budget shrunk from $7.9 million in 2008 to $4.7 million this year, Barton said.
Other cost-cutting measures include requiring employees to take 27 days off without pay during the year.
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