Point Beach Court Likely to Stay in Point Boro
Towns still negotiating
Point Beach Municipal Court is likely to continue operating out of Point Borough's Borough Hall on Bridge Avenue, according to the Borough attorney.
But negotiations are still ongoing, and any plan agreed to by the towns still has to be approved by a Superior Court judge.
Point Borough Attorney Jerry Dasti said, after the council's executive session, that the matter of municipal court had been discussed in closed session after the regular meeting.
When asked about the court scenario, Dasti said, "The (Point Beach) court will stay here." He was amazed to hear from Patch that the Borough Council had actually voted to allow Point Beach to move its court operation back to Borough Hall on New Jersey Avenue in Point Beach.
"I don't know anything about that," said Dasti.
The council vote to allow court to move back to Point Beach was on Feb. 21, a few weeks after Dasti was appointed and sworn in on Feb. 7. He had been appointed when Republicans regained their majority on council and brought back Dasti who had been municipal attorney for about 16 years.
Regarding the ongoing issues on where Point Beach court will be held, Dasti said, "There's a question about staffing and we discussed that in executive session. The Borough has paid 15 percent towards administrative salaries and the Beach wants more, I think. But I think it will be resolved by the next meeting."
Also after the meeting, when asked about current negotiations, Councilman Chris Leitner said, "They (Point Beach) made a decision that it would benefit them keeping the court here. It doesn't matter to us where it is."
The primary reason the Beach wanted its court back in its own Borough Hall is that it was spending a lot in overtime pay to full-time police officers and detectives to work in municipal court in Borough Hall because Point Beach's special police officers have no jurisdiction in the Borough.
Point Beach Police Chief Kevin O'Hara had said earlier this year that manning municipal court in the Borough cost Point Beach about $20,000 in overtime in 2011.
The two towns are working on a resolution to that staffing issue, but Leitner said he could not yet disclose details because it's still pending negotiations between the towns and, ultimately, pending approval by Superior Court Assignment Judge Vincent Grasso.
Point Beach officials could not be reached for comment on Tuesday night due to the lateness of the hour.
Point Beach, at a council meeting early in the year, had agreed to send a signed agreement to Point Borough urging them to allow Point Beach to take its court back.
The 2010 contract for the municipal court shared services agreement was for three years and can only be undone if both boroughs agree to that.
Point Beach's municipal court moved from Point Beach Borough Hall to Point Borough in 2010 as part of a shared services contract between the two municipalities that also called for the towns to share a municipal court judge and administrator.
The Point Borough municipal court has always operated out of Borough Hall on Bridge Avenue and will continue to do so.