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Courts to be combined at end of term

In a very brief meeting Aug. 16, Pike County commissioners voted 3-2 to move forward with a legislative resolution to combine the county’s magistrate and probate courts in the January session. Chairman Doug Mangham said he would like to see a motion to combine the courts. Commissioner Tommy Powers made the motion and Carol Bass seconded it. County attorney Rob Morton said the motion should include information about whether the combination of courts would occur after the end of the current magistrate judge’s term in December 2012 or by a referendum. All three board members agreed the combination should take place at the end of the term, which would not require a public vote. There was no discussion prior to the vote, but afterward commissioners Tamra Jarrett and Don Collins ‘“ who voted against the resolution ‘“ explained why they did not vote in favor and asked several questions about the combination. ’This is supposed to be a cost-saving measure but we haven’t seen any figures on how much this is going to save the county,’ Collins said. ‘We haven’t considered what it’ll cost to expand the probate court. I don’t think it can operate where it is and handle magistrate court issues as well. There are so many things that haven’t been discussed.’

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