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Pike needs a bigger court house

June 8, 2011

Did you know that the Borough of Milford and Milford Township have no central sewer system? And what does that have to do with anything, you may ask?

It has to do with whether the county courthouse can receive an extension to its building and whether, if not, a totally new courthouse building would have to be built on county property in Blooming Grove. If that eventuality happens, the Borough of Milford would cease to be the county seat.

This is the conclusion envisioned by Pike County Commissioner chair Rich Caridi. “This is by no means certain; we want to avoid that,” he said.

It’s no secret that the county is growing. It’s also no secret that the county administration building is bulging at the seams. What may not be obvious is that the county courthouse is also bulging, which bothers state court officials who look after the status of the courts.

The main question is whether the current courthouse septic system will allow the building of an extension on its existing plot of land. It may not. The present structure was built in 1874.

“We are beginning to study this issue,” said county attorney Tom Farley. “We need to know where the exact boundary lines fall. Nothing is certain yet.”

If you happen to be in Milford or you live there and you’ve walked around the building at 410 Broad Street, you know that there’s not much room to spare. Several of the court offices are still housed in the administration building, such as probation, the public defender and the district attorney.

“If these departments were to move to the expanded or new courthouse, it would give us much-needed room to expand,” Caridi said.

County planners surmise that because the borough and the township are so close to the Delaware River, past administrations wanted to avoid the myriad of regulations that would have been involved in building a sewer system there. That may or may not have been the reason, but the reality still stands that there is no sewer system in either municipality, which can create problems.