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Superior Court’s Grover Beach branch to close

San Luis Obispo Superior Court officials confirmed on Monday their plans to close the Grover Beach branch for 2012 as part of cost-cutting to deal with a $1 million budget gap.

The court will also start an employee furlough plan every Friday, beginning on Oct. 7. About a quarter of the court’s personnel will be off every Friday, and services will be limited.

The Grover Beach court, at 214 S. 16th St., will remain open through this year and then close effective Jan. 3. Cases, including filings already on schedule in Grover Beach for next year, will be heard in the main court complex in San Luis Obispo, located at 1035 Palm St.

“The court recognizes that this decision will greatly inconvenience county residents during 2012,” the court said in a news release. “Court leaders hope that the suspension of operations is temporary and promise to aggressively seek restoration of recent funding cuts so as to ensure continuing access to justice for everyone.”

Under the furlough plan, a select number of courtrooms would remain open on Fridays for statutorily required hearings, such as domestic violence, elder abuse and restraining orders involving domestic violence or stalking.

Anyone can visit the court’s website, www.slocourts.net, to handle traffic tickets and inquire about jury duty. Clerks will be available, but lines on Fridays are expected to be long and telephone inquiries will not be taken.

The furlough plan, which will be re-evaluated at the end of this calendar year, would save about $293,000. The plan would mean about a 5 percent pay cut for each employee.

The court has an overall operating budget of $19 million this year.

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