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Treasurer's Office to move next year

December 09, 1999|By SCOTT BUTKI

The Washington County Treasurer's Office will move out of the Washington County Courthouse annex in about a year, Washington County Administrator Rodney Shoop said Thursday.

When the move has been made, the building will be used only for judicial purposes, and a fifth Circuit judge will be added, he said.

Treasurer Todd Hershey's office will move to the County Office Building at 33-35 W. Washington St., which currently houses the Washington County District Court.

A new District Court building is under construction at 36 W. Antietam St., and is expected to be ready for occupancy around January 2001.

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Hershey's office won't leave the annex until space is freed up by the District Court's move to its new quarters, he said.

Hershey currently has a 1,600-square-foot office in the courthouse annex. Four Circuit Court judges and their staffs work in the courthouse and annex at the corner of Washington Street and Summit Avenue. The annex was added to the courthouse in 1963.

Shoop said Circuit Judge Frederick C. Wright III will request a fifth Circuit judge take the bench at the courthouse around July 2002. Renovations will provide enough room for a fifth courtroom and office, he said.

Wright, the administrative judge for the Fourth Judicial Circuit of Maryland, which covers Washington, Allegany and Garrett counties, was unavailable for comment Thursday.

The state pays judges' salaries and benefits, but the county in which they sit provides and pays for space and staff, he has said.

In January, the chief judge of the Maryland Court of Appeals said the county needed two more Circuit judges, but Wright said the four local judges could handle the caseload and that there was no room in the courthouse for a fifth or sixth judge.

Earlier this year the county government told the Maryland Department of Assessments and Taxation to vacate its office in the annex by March 2000. The county was leasing the state the 3,800-square-foot space for about $44,460 a year.

The county has since given that office an extension until June 2000 while the Maryland Department of General Services finds them new quarters downtown, Tim O'Rourke, supervisor of assessments, said Thursday. Several sites are being considered, he said.

Hershey said he had been lobbying to stay in the annex, noting its small size and that it is convenient for customers to have his office close to the Clerk of the Court.

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