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Township gives county more time to find Greencastle magisterial judge office

February 27, 2008|By KATE S. ALEXANDER

GREENCASTLE, Pa. - Antrim Township on Tuesday gave Franklin County more time to seek a new home for the Greencastle-area magisterial district judge office, but insisted it is not evicting its tenant of more than 25 years.

The Antrim Township Board of Supervisors voted unanimously Tuesday to extend the 90-day move-out date it gave Franklin County in early February until the township can review an operations study that it hopes to send out for proposal in March.

Township Manager Ben Thomas said the decision was a compromise between the township and the county that would relieve the sardined working conditions of township staff, while also accommodating the financial and logistical obstacles facing Franklin County as it searches for a new magisterial district judge office.

While the decision provides the county with more time to find a new home for Magisterial District Judge Duane Cunningham, it did not give the county the answers it hoped to receive.

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Franklin County Commissioner Bob Thomas said earlier Tuesday he hoped the decision would help the county know whether to seek a temporary location until the new Antrim Township municipal government complex is built, or a permanent location for the district judge's office.

Bob Thomas said the county would be hard-pressed to find a temporary location because of strict standards set by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania for a district justice office, including standards for security.

The county has rented space in the municipal complex since the early 1980s. The current location has been grandfathered into those standards, he said, but a new location would have to meet all state standards.

Township Supervisor Fred Young said the township deliberately did not provide the county with more direction than a time extension.

"We wanted to be considerate of our friend because we recognize that it will be a hard time to find a sufficient location," he said.

Ben Thomas said the township immediately will begin seeking some storage and cubicle solutions to help employees cope until more space can be acquired or built.

In early 2007, supervisors voted against accepting bids for the complex, with the lowest bid coming in at nearly $6.5 million. Plans for the complex then were scaled back and last month, officials discussed a study to evaluate the township's operations and space requirements.

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