Hatboro Seeks Bids to Relocate District Judge
The Hatboro Borough Council intends to move the district justice office from the second floor of the municipal building to a space in the adjacent Victorian Village.
A 10-year lease between Hatboro and Montgomery County is contingent on the cost of outfitting a vacant condo at Victorian Village to house District Judge Paul Leo.
The borough has been looking for several years to have Leo's court relocated from its current locale in the cramped second floor of borough hall to the adjacent location, officials said during Monday night's meeting.
"He’s moving no matter what," borough solicitor Christen Pionzio said. "We want to keep him here."
Pionzio said she hopes that this time the price is right to transform the space for use as a district court.
"Otherwise we’re going to have two vacancies," Pionzio said.
The governing body took no action on Monday, but intends to formally authorize solicitation of bids at its Jan. 28 meeting.
When bids were first sought in 2010, officials said it was expected to cost $300,000 to ready the space for court. The project died soon after.
But, through new talks with Montgomery County, Hatboro officials said they are confident that a deal can be struck.
"We've got a decent lease rate in this thing," Council President John Zygmont said. "So much so that it makes absolutely no sense to not fit the thing out."
Currently, Zygmont said the county pays Hatboro $57,000 per year to lease Leo's existing space. Under a tentative 10-year contract set to begin this fall, he said Hatboro would earn $70,000 per year in lease fees.
Hatboro would be responsible for the first $150,000 to outfit the space, Zygmont said. The remainder would be split between Hatboro and the county, he said.
"The alternaive is to have empty space," Zygmont said. "There’s just no sense in not doing it."
The project has a definite sense of "urgency" Zygmont said adding that if it's not ready by Sept. 1, "the county walks."