Commissioners debate access to courthouse

MIFFLINTOWN – Upgrades to security equipment and systems at the Juniata County courthouse have instilled greater confidence in the county’s commissioners.

During a regular Tuesday board meeting, Commissioner Robert Reynolds said the courthouse soon will move to open its Lemon Street door to the public. At this time, only a Bridge Street door and handicapped-accessible entrance at the back of the building offer public access to the courthouse.

Commissioner Teresa O’Neal refuted the announcement, further explaining that she is “very much against” reversing the decision made by a prior board to secure the door.

“I was not involved in that discussion,” she said. “I do not agree about opening that Lemon Street door.”

O’Neal cited security concerns as the reason the door originally was closed to the public, but Reynolds argued that security has significantly improved since the time that decision was made.

Both O’Neal and Commissioner Jeffrey Zimmerman, he said, had been involved before in discussions about the door.

“I believe it’s majority rules,” he said, inferring Zimmerman’s support of the decision and adding that he saw the security concerns as relics of a prior time.

Zimmerman did not offer comment about the decision during the meeting.

O’Neal said, in making the decision to grant public access through the Lemon Street door, Reynolds and Zimmerman were going against standard procedure for securing government buildings.

The meeting ended without cohesive resolve.

In other new business, the commissioners approved:

The Medical Assistance Transportation Program report for the quarter ending Sept. 30, submitted by Call-A-Ride Service Director of Finance Jenaya L. Mellinger.

The “Hot Site Hosting Service Agreement” with IMR Limited for backup and disaster recovery services for the register and recorder’s office, submitted by Alicia Seigler, register and recorder. The annual maintenance fee for the service is $3,000, in addition to a one-time setup fee of $5,000. Funding will be through the Recorder’s Improvement Fund.

An agreement with IMR County Solutions for microfilm jacket digital conversion services for the register and recorder’s office at a cost of $12,000, submitted by Seigler. Funding will be through monies generated by the office.

Checks Nos. 38,718 to 38,763 in the amount of $119,297.63.