Skip to main content

Town of Warsaw (population 5064)

Name of service/government operation: Town and Village Court

Form of sharing: Owned by Town, nominal monthly lease payment from Village

Services affected: Village and Town Court and Clerks' office

Year started: 2011

Partners: Town and Village of Warsaw Court

Primary goal(s)/motivation(s): Provide safe and efficient working environment for Town and Village Court officials, court clerks and the public. Also secure record storage space. To use building space for multiple uses. We now use the "court room" space to hold weekly Town and Village Court, monthly Town Board meetings, monthly Planning Board meetings and monthly Zoning Board of Appeals meetings. The separate small conference room adjacent to the "court room" is used for attorneys to meet with their clients on court evenings, for executive session meetings, and for small misc. meetings with the public to review plans, concerns, etc. It will also be used for tax grievance cases.

What planning process preceded the sharing? Several planning meetings with justices, clerks, architect, Town Board members/Supervisor, Village Mayor, Village Public Works and Town Highway Superintendents, architect, NYS Court Architect and Clerk of the Works. Needs of all parties were considered and plans drawn up to best renovate the building to accommodate those needs. Construction work was bid out, grants were applied for and subsequently some funds were awarded. Meetings between a local financial institute, the Supervisor, Clerk of the Works, and Town Clerk resulted in a generous donation by the financial institute of gently used office furniture and fire-proof file cabinets.

What governance structures and/or agreements are required to maintain this agreement? A simple annual lease agreement between the Town and Village providing a nominal monthly payment to the Town from the Village. The Village Public Works Department and the Town Highway Department partnered in creating and paving the parking lot. The Village agreed to provide water and sewer and garbage service to the Town at no charge.

Challenges: Getting past "territorial" perceptions to provide a cooperative working relationships.

Benefits: Safer, more efficient working space and use of time for court clerks and justices. Previously had to pack up court documents and equipment to move to a different location in order to hold court. After court justices and clerks had to pack it all up (including money) and move it back to Village Office. At least two extra hours were involved, one hour at each end to accomplish this every week. Now all is under one roof. <br> Also, the new Town/Village Court building had been a vacant church property, off the tax rolls as a not-for-profit entity. The Town's purchase meant that it would not be taking another property off the tax rolls and the re-use, renovation of a formerly vacant building. Currently, the Town is under contract for the sale of the former Town office. Once purchase is completed, the property will be put on the tax rolls as a private for-profit business.

Impact on budget: There has not been much impact on the regular annual budget to date. However, some capital funding was obtained through Town court grant ($22,000) to comply with ADA regulations and purchase a lift/elevator providing access to the three levels in the building. The Village Court also received grant dollars to purchase the metal detector (approximately $4,500) and miscellaneous office furniture. Thus there was substantial savings in the initial capital project. The building is shared with the Town Clerk's, Supervisor's, Zoning, Planning and Zoning Board of Appeals, and Tax Assessor's offices; all requiring the ADA compliance that was met with the lift/elevator.

Impact on labor: Time saved by the court officials in transporting files and equipment to separate location to hold weekly court. Also safer working environment due to up-to-date security/panic/fire alarm systems, metal detector, and building design. Also, building completely up to code and has vastly improved and efficient internet capability.

Impact on service: Village and Town Court and Court Clerks in one location provides easier access to pay tickets and fines. Court records secure and in one location. Better court accommodations for the public. Better parking availability and handicapped accessibility.

Key contact: Rebecca J. Ryan, Warsaw Town Supervisor, 585-786-2583,