Wednesday, May 21, 2008

City Expects To Lose State As Tenant

The downtown state courthouse will be sold by the city back to the state for one dollar. This was an agreement that was reached 20 years ago, and the city was well aware of an expiring lease. The courthouse provided the city of Milford with $650,000.00 in rent.

The Milford courthouse was an idea that came about because of local businesses asking for the convenience of a local courthouse. Businesses found it inconvenient to drive to New Haven, the next nearest courthouse to conduct legal affairs. Jim Amann also recently touted that he received $3,000,000.00 "for development and land acquisition for the new Milford Courthouse Annex and parking area."

Parking has been the greatest concern, and largest inconvenience of having the State Courthouse in town. The local chamber of commerce also criticized the municipal complex has being "challenged" because of its lack of parking and said the state will have issues over the lot size and availability of the current parking spaces.

According to Rocco Frank Jr. the Independent candidate for State Rep in the 118Th, "it has been my experience in working for the state that most Courthouses have parking lots with spaces exclusively dedicated to virtually every state employee. In the Bridgeport and Stamford courthouse alone there are nearly 100 spaces each dedicated for Judges, Clerks, Social Workers, and staff. To have the state expect the city of Milford to give up that many spaces would be a hardship for the town."

Frank also said, "that judges also have security concerns and do not feel safe walking in an unattended parking lot back and forth to their cars, they preside on some very intense cases and are often at risk of public retaliation if they make a bad decision. These are things that must be considered in the wake of a change in that very area." Frank also said that he thinks it might be best if the courthouse relocated away from downtown in its entirety, and perhaps re-opened in West Haven or someplace on the Post Road where traffic and parking will not be as big of an issue. The city could then perhaps re-rent the place to a less demanding tenant or use it to save revenue by vacating existing buildings and relocating city departments."

Richetelli said that the "Courthouse deal made good sense 20 years ago, but today he is concerned over the loss in state revenue. He said the city will still pay us money but we can be assured it will be substantially less than the $650,000.00 we have become accustomed to." The final numbers that the city ends up with will mark yet another gap in the 2010 budget to be filled.

Photo of Milford Courthouse AKA G.A.22

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