County seat moved to Waynesboro, Pa., for a day

August 08, 1997


Staff Writer, Chambersburg

WAYNESBORO, Pa. - District Justice Larry Pentz saved taxpayers $2 in postage on Thursday by walking down the street to file cases with the Franklin County Clerk of Courts office in Waynesboro rather than mailing the package to the courthouse in Chambersburg, Pa.

The clerk's office had been moved to Waynesboro for the day, and "I thought I'd take advantage of the opportunity," Pentz said.

For the first time in Franklin County's history, Waynesboro was officially named county seat for the day at a 10 a.m. ceremony attended by more than 200 people as part of the celebration of the borough's bicentennial. Officials made clear in advance that the move was official, not ceremonial, and many people turned out to take advantage of having government services in town.


"Today is a special day for Waynesboro," said Mayor Louis Barlup. "It's a unique experience to conduct the business of our county in our town."

Makeshift offices were set up for a number of county agencies in the Citizens National Bank community room and the Alexander Hamilton Memorial Free Public Library.

The county commissioners conducted business in the borough's council chambers.

"We're glad people came out and took advantage of our services here," said Bill Vandrew, the county's clerk of courts.

A couple from Waynesboro and another from Mont Alto, Pa., walked away with unique marriage licenses from the clerk of courts office.

It's the first time marriage licenses were issued some place other than Chambersburg, Vandrew said.

On the bottom of the licenses was typed: "First marriage application filed in the Borough of Waynesboro, the county seat of Franklin County (see Proclamation attached)."

At the next table, the prothonotary's office filed two divorces, handed out passport applications and answered questions from the public.

"The turnout has been phenomenally better than I thought it would be," said county Treasurer Steve Minnich, who did $6,410.22 worth of business in Waynesboro on Thursday issuing hunting, fishing and dog licenses, among other services.

"I've done a little bit of everything," he said.

Minnich, a native of Waynesboro, came up with the idea of proclaiming the borough the county seat for a day.

"I thought it would be a great opportunity for Waynesboro to be recognized," Minnich said. "It kind of took on a life of its own. It worked out well. This gave the bicentennial celebration a good kickoff."

County commissioners heard reports from various organizations, including Main Street Waynesboro, the Waynesboro Industrial Development Authority and the Chamber of Commerce.

County planning officials also gave a status report on the county's comprehensive plan, followed by a presentation on the county's human services organization.

Mayor Barlup also led a walking tour of downtown Waynesboro where commissioners, pointing to bicentennial decorations on store fronts and the newly planted trees on Main Street, remarked on the community's pride in the borough.

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