HENDERSON — The town court has been transformed to meet security standards and modern needs of the community.
“There was really no security to protect the court clerk when she is taking fines and handling records,” said Henderson Town Supervisor John J. Culkin.
While some improvements are still in the works, including a minor facelift to the exterior, the project is almost complete.
A new secured area was built next to the bench, which also allows for some added security for the justice during proceedings.
“On court night, when attorneys needed to meet with their clients, they were using the clerk’s office — and with files on her desk, it wasn’t the best option. So we now have a separate space for them to meet as well,” said the supervisor.
Workers also replaced the carpeting, painted the walls and did some upgrades to the heating system.
Additionally, there is now an enclosed entry for energy efficiency — as well as to reduce snow, mud and other weather-related annoyances that may make their way into the courtroom.
Town Justice Michael Yonkovig said the Office of Court Administration has been supportive of the process.
“They have offered these grants and we have received a few, thanks in large part to our court clerk at the time, Christina Schafer (now the justice for the village of Adams),” said Justice Yonkovig.
“A lot of cases are being assigned to Henderson which didn’t necessarily happen here,” said the justice. “In the event of a recusal we may end up with the case, and it’s nice to have a courtroom that is modern and secure.”
The original Justice Court Assistance Program grant was $25,000 for court renovations and $3,200 for furniture. The town has spent just under $162,000 on the entire project thus far.
The cost of the renovations and furnishings specific to the functioning of the court was well over $28,200, and according to the supervisor, all the JCAP grant money went to court-related renovations.
“We still have some unfinished work yet to be completed for which we have not yet paid,” said the supervisor.
The project also included creating two separate offices for the assessor and code enforcement.
The offices were originally separated by a curtain. This work was completed through the town’s general fund.