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Commissioners courtroom to get renovated for other court use

By By Brian M. Cuaron
May 2, 2011 at 12:02 a.m.


COURT HONORS VETERANS

Military veterans of Victoria County were honored at the commissioners court meeting on Monday.

"What a wonderful day to have you here in court. What a wonderful opportunity for this court to present this," said County Judge Don Pozzi to 10 veterans at the meeting in reference to the recent demise of Osama bin Laden. "For your loyalty and patriotism, you will always be remembered."

Troy Howard, commander of the Victoria Veterans Council and a Korean War veteran, received the signed document designating May 1 through June 14 as National Military Appreciation Month. He and Pozzi, a veteran of the Vietnam War, saluted one another during the exchange.

The courtroom for the Victoria County Commissioners Court will be renovated to make room for a county court-at-law judge and jury trials.

The court awarded contracts to Morris Builders Inc. and Feals Electric to renovate the courtroom in the middle of June.

The estimated cost from Morris Builders Inc. was $5,920 with an estimated cost of $1,700 from Feals Electric. Electronic equipment will also need to be purchased for a total estimated cost of $30,000, said Kevin Janak, commissioner for precinct 2.

The renovation is needed because there are eight judges housed in the courthouse, but only four courtrooms. In January there was some drama when newly elected County Court-at-Law 2 Judge Dan Gilliam discovered that a desk and other equipment was moved from the courtroom used by his predecessor.

A notice on that courtroom's door with District Judge Stephen Williams' letterhead said that "the 24th District courtroom is reserved for district court cases only."

A meeting involving County Judge Don Pozzi helped settle the situation.

With the renovation, county court-at-law judges like Gilliam and Judge Laura Weiser will now have another courtroom for them to use, said Janak, who headed the renovation efforts.

Janak said that the commissioners courtroom will still remain a commissioners courtroom, and that use of the courtroom by county court-at-law judges will not interfere with the commissioners court's Monday meetings or its budget workshops that usually occur in late July or early August.

Originally, plans were for a new office building to be built near the courthouse. The county even has bought property for that new building, but had to shelve those plans when the recession.

"This is kind of a temporary fix, but how long this will stay this way? Only time will tell, " Janak said.

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