New law makes it likely coroner's costs will go up
Hubbard County Coroner Dr. Paul Grimes won't be seeking re-election this fall because a new state law made him ineligible for the job. County coroners and deputy coroners now must hold an active license as a medical doctor. Grimes, a retired phys...
Hubbard County Coroner Dr. Paul Grimes won't be seeking re-election this fall because a new state law made him ineligible for the job.
County coroners and deputy coroners now must hold an active license as a medical doctor.
Grimes, a retired physician, no longer has an MD license.
He was elected to the coroner's office in 2002 when Dr. John Fredell didn't file for another term. No one else filed either and Grimes received 1,666 write-in votes.
If no one files this time, the county commissioners can appoint a coroner. Grimes suspects there won't be a long list of applicants.
Coroners are called anytime there is a sudden or unexpected death. That can mean driving to the northern part of Hubbard County in the middle of the night in January or from a family gathering on a Sunday in July.
For such calls in 2005, Grimes was paid $6,125. The budget for those calls in 2006 is $7,000.
Grimes predicts the new law will cost counties a lot more money.
Autopsies cost about $2,500 each, Grimes said. Coroners determine whether or not an autopsy is needed.
State statute allows an autopsy to be ordered following any sudden or unexpected death, so many more could be ordered, he indicated.
Including the cost of autopsies and other expenses, Hubbard County's expenses for the coroner's office were $30,856 in 2005. The entire budget for 2006 is $37,300.
The new law, which goes into effect July 1, requires commissioners to appoint a coroner not less than 30 days before the end of the incumbent's term if no one is elected to the office.
The coroner no longer has to be a resident of the county and counties are allowed to contract for the services with other units of government.