The cost for providing court-appointed attorneys in Pottawatomie County may soon go up.
At Monday’s meeting it was noted that the three attorneys making up the county’s indigent dependent panel are seeking a new contract for services. They’re seeking compensation of $7,000 per month each, up from the $5,000 per month they’ve been under contract for since 2017. County Counselor John Watt says there are concerns if a contract could not be agreed upon.
      1017-Watt 2

By law, the county is required to provide counsel to those unable to afford representation. Commissioners weren’t prepared to meet with the panel just yet, instead opting for more time to study the matter. Commissioner Greg Riat explains.
      1017-Riat 1

Earlier this year the state approved $3.6 million in raises to hourly fees for attorneys who contract with the Board of Indigent Defense Services, according to the Topeka Capital-Journal. It’s possible that state employees could receive a 5 percent raise through legislative action, which might include public defenders. Those changes are still pending.
Pottawatomie County has already set its budget for 2023 and its unclear if the board would be open to some sort of budget adjustment. No timetable was presented Monday for when the county might meet with the panel to discuss a potential new contract.