Chief Judge Frank C. Mills III said the county's increasing caseload led him to ask the state government to fund another seat on the bench.
"Last year, we were eligible by the numbers," Mills said about adding a fourth judge. "We don't expect the money to be in the budget, so I don't think we will get it."
The court last year saw 4,413 civil cases and 2,438 criminal cases, down from 4,551 civil and 2,955 criminal in 2008.
A third judge seat, now held by Judge Ellen McElyea, was added to the county in 2006.
Mills said while funding for a fourth judge is the top priority, another important need is revitalization of the senior judge system, which he said the state assembly has left unfunded.
As a result, when a judge removes himself or herself from a case, the recused judge has to trade spots with a judge from another circuit because of the lack of senior judges to fill the gap.
"We may have to go to Gwinnett or Forsyth County," he said of Cherokee judges when they recuse themselves and need a substitute. "It causes delays."
Cherokee's superior court judges said financial strains overall will be a challenge this year.
"The judicial branch has been affected by the state's budget concerns, just like other branches of government, but we still strive to deliver the services we are designed to provide - protection of the community and the orderly resolution of disputes," Judge McElyea said. "I am pleased that our court has been able to operate in an efficient manner despite the budget downturns."
Judge N. Jackson Harris said a major accomplishment for 2009 was that despite a budget crunch that prevented expansion of administrative staff, the court managed to operate efficiently.
The administrative staff, he said, is supposed to be funded by the state government, but the funding obligation is being passed off to the county government.
"Even without additional staff, we were able to maintain the administrative responsibilities of the courts and close cases at a very acceptable rate," he said.
Harris said the court has also succeeded in helping maintain the strong relationship between all five classes of courts that leads them all to run smoothly.
"We are not over capacity, but are nearly at capacity," he said of the tightening quarters at the Justice Center. "The neighborly attitudes of Justice Center occupants help us to avoid conflict over space."