Pasco County Clerk & Comptroller Nikki Alvarez-Sowles has prevailed in one portion of her legal challenge against Pasco County, while Pasco County has prevailed in another part of her lawsuit.
Alvarez-Sowles’ office filed the lawsuit in late 2021 seeking clarity regarding statutory funding obligations after the county resisted fully funding the services and expenses of the multiagency criminal justice information system and the operating expenses for the West Pasco Judicial Center, the county’s second full-service courthouse, which is in New Port Richey.
A trial judge ruled against the clerk’s office on both issues in February 2023, and Alvarez-Sowles appealed that decision.
In a ruling issued Jan. 17, the Florida Second District Court of Appeal ruled the county is responsible for fully and immediately funding the multiagency criminal justice information system.
The appellate court also ruled that the county did not have a responsibility to provide Clerk’s Office funding for the operating expenses of the West Pasco Judicial Center.
The clerk’s office announced the ruling in a news release and shared a copy of the court’s decision.
“Filing a lawsuit against Pasco County was never our first choice,” Alvarez-Sowles said, in the release.” This case of first impression involved evaluating complex legislative history and significant funding issues. I thank the appellate court, as well as the trial court judge, and all involved for considering and clarifying these complex and important issues.”
In the same news release, Alvarez-Sowles said she looks forward to working with the Pasco County Commission to resolve the remaining issues involving this litigation.
Published January 24, 2024