By Peter Becker

Managing Editor

MILFORD- Bids were opened March 20th for renovations of a former religious vestment factory, for an interim county courtroom facility in Milford.

The temporary court facility is being prepared due to a reported critical need for more space for court-related functions, while the Pike County Commissioners pursue a permanent solution by putting an annex on the 1874 courthouse.

Bids were tabled pending reviews by the engineer and solicitor, and securing of a contract from the Commonwealth Financing Authority. This state agency is expected to provide partial funding, explained Commissioner Richard Caridi.

General contracting bids ranged from $432,802 to $683,025. Six bids were received. They also had four bids for mechanical work, $74,200 to $95,725; four bids for electrical work, $57,889 to $101,000 and two bids for plumbing, $76,743 and $85,295.

The County plans to renovate what had been the Malhame Vestment Company, at 475 Route 6/209, maker of clergy apparel. The interim facility will allow for a second, smaller courtroom, mediation room, a holding room for the Sheriff's Department and Judge's offices.

Offices now used by the Judge in the house next to the Courthouse on Broad Street would be relocated. The County is planing to seek approval to remove the house and locate the annex there.

Transportation funding

Pike County has been part of a five-county alliance for the purpose of administration of federal and state transportation funding, to pay for the upkeep of state roads.

They have been joined with the counties of Carbon, Monroe, Schuylkill and Wayne as a "Rural Planning Organization" (RPO) through the Northeastern Pennsylvania Alliance.

Because new Census data has shown enough population growth in Monroe County, the designation has been upgraded to a Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO). Wayne County, however, chose to back out and stay as a separate RPO.

Pike County Commissioners agreed to continue as a member county of the MPO, with the thought that a larger pool of funding may become available. Caridi said that the funding won't be any less.

Other items

Richard Riccardi was hired as a full-time Aging Care Manager I for the Area Agency on Aging. This is a replacement position.

One bid was received to farm the land of the former privately-owned Santos Farm, which is part of County park land. The bid was from Santos, who continues to farm the land after having sold it to the County.

At the March 6 meeting, Commissioners approved an amendment to the Dress Code to be followed by County employees. Caridi said that the purpose is to standardize professional decorum.

Kristen Schultz has been hired by Judge Joseph Kameen as a part-time Clerk for Magisterial District Judge Stephen McBride. This is a replacement position.

On March 6, an agreement for a grant for $203,215 for the Pike County Public Library project was approved. The grant is from the Keystone Recreation, Park & Conservation Fund. The new library is expected to be done by the end of May.

The Pike County Commissioners meet on the first and third Wednesday at 9 a.m., at the County Administration building on Broad Street.