Solutions for storage and safety concerns at the Southold Town Justice Court are likely to come piecemeal, Councilman James Dinizio suggested at Tuesday’s work session.
The Town Board had planned to pay for upgrades at the aging court building by using energy credits from efficiency upgrades at Town Hall. But a recent survey found that those credits wouldn’t come close to covering the cost of a new justice court.
Town engineer Michael Collins outlined three options: replace the existing trailers serving as the Justice Court with more modular units for an estimated $1.5 million; build a brand-new court facility for $3 million; or construct a new Town Hall; or reconfigure the existing building for the courts.
Mr. Collins suggested that the start-from-scratch plan might save money in the long run, but Mr. Dinizio said the town needs “temporary relief” and advocated for the modular units.
“Don’t like the idea of court officers sitting out there in that lobby and us walking back and forth,” he said, describing the current security situation when court is in session. Mr. Dinizio said the town could first install a secondary door for the Justice Court away from the main hallway in Town Hall and then buy or lease modular units to replace the existing court space and buy the town an extra few years to find a long-term solution.
The board did not discuss how to pay for additional modular units.
Photo: From left, Town Board members Bob Ghosio and James Dinizio. (Credit: Paul Squire)