At last night’s Town Hall on Law and Justice Funding, County Commissioner Dennis Weber says that Cowlitz County now has a balanced budget for the coming year. While they still plan to cut about 20 positions as part of the budget-balancing process, Weber says that a slightly brighter financial position will allow the Commissioners to help the county’s beleaguered court system…lawandjustice…Weber says that they went over Cowlitz County’s law and justice system with a fine-toothed comb, looking for ways to reduce costs, increase efficiency and improve customer service. A number of measures came out of that review. The county’s Work Release program will be terminated, and they plan to vacate the third floor of the Hall of Justice. Weber emphasizes that the Jail Work Crews will continue, but the Work Release program will end. It’s hoped that the arrangement to have District Court Judges hear some Superior Court cases two days per week will help to save some money and will start to clear up a backlog of civil cases in the local system. The move to a Guardian ad Litem system for family cases is expected to improve efficiency, and the county will be moving to a web-based jury selection system in January. Several law and justice positions will also be restored in the upcoming budget. About 40 people attended last night’s meeting, mostly attorneys, judges and others connected to the local law and justice system. Weber says that this proposed budget will be available for review “soon”; a public hearing on this budget is currently scheduled for the morning of Tuesday, December 3rd.