District courts to consolidate

JENKINTOWN Montgomery County will consolidate three district courts in Jenkintown into one shared building as part of an ongoing effort to combine court operations around the county.

Under a lease approved last week by the county commissioners, three district courts in Jenkintown are to begin moving into a building on Old York Road next year. All three courts, under District Judges Elizabeth McHugh, Christopher Cerski, and Juanita Price, would be in the building by 2018.

During the 17-year lease, the county is to save at least $650,000 in rent for the court facilities, said Denise Vicario, deputy court administrator. If rents increased at the other locations, the county could save nearly $1 million.

"It's just a great example of how we can save money through efficiency and common sense," said Josh Shapiro, chairman of the county commissioners.

District Court consolidations are already underway in Pottstown and Norristown, Vicario said, and the county is to look into similar arrangements in other townships.

"The judges are actually very excited about this idea," Vicario said, because they can work alongside colleagues, share staff, and fill in for one another. - Laura McCrystal