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story.lead_photo.caption Fulton City Hall is located at 18 E. Fourth Ave. Photo by Fulton Sun file photo

The Fulton Municipal Court is coming to an end.

Beginning soon, municipal cases will be instead handled through the Callaway County Circuit Court, City Clerk Courtney Crowson said.

"(City Administrator) Bill (Johnson) and I looked at the municipal court functions and noted that many are being absorbed by county courts," Crowson said at the Sept. 17 meeting of the Fulton City Council. "Bill learned that over the next three to five years, they're all going to (that) level."

Missouri's law states that municipalities have the option to have violations of municipal ordinances heard and ruled on by an associate circuit judge. Many cities and small towns — including New Bloomfield and Mokane — have already made that change.

New rules from the state on how to handle municipal ordinance violations are encouraging more and more cities to make that transition, Johnson said. The state rule changes are intended to increase oversight on local courts, he said.

"A lot of the town are using their court as a cash register," Johnson said Sept. 17. "That can't be said of us, but (the state) is wanting to take control."

This will mean the elimination of Fulton's Municipal Court clerk position, currently occupied by Heather Hall, but Johnson said the city will do its best to find an alternative position for Hall. At Tuesday's meeting, Crowson thanked Hall for her two years of exemplary service to the city.

"It pretty much won't change anything for the Fulton Police Department," Johnson said. "Fines ordered in the court will still go to the city."

However, they will be paid through the court, Crowson said.

The bill ordering the change passed its third and final reading, plus a vote at Tuesday's Fulton City Council meeting. Crowson said city officials have met with 13th Circuit Court officials to ease the transition.

"Technically, they can't say no," she added.

Crowson said the Callaway County Circuit Court has agreed to take over municipal court functions by Jan. 1, which she described as an expedited schedule.