County buys land for judge’s office

The purchase of two parcels in Muncy Creek Township by Lycoming County government will pave the way for a new office for District Judge Jon E. Kemp.

The county purchased 2164 Route 405 on Jan. 7 for $235,000 at a sheriff’s sale. The transaction means Kemp will be out of his present location at the Margaret Waldron Building, 46 S. Main St. in Muncy, by the end of the year, according to county officials. A district judge has maintained an office at the building for 21 years.

County commissioners formally approved the transaction Tuesday at their meeting.

The property’s listed fair market value is $233,750.

Muncy School District, which owns the Waldron Building and has its administrative offices there, entered into an agreement of sale for the building on Oct. 19, 2012, for $125,000 to SJ Holdings LLC, of 726 Washington Boulevard, said David Edkin, the district’s business manager.

Mya Toon, county property manager, called Kemp’s present office “inadequate,” saying that the building lacks proper security, parking and office space.

In addition, the county has been paying increasing rent to the school district for the space. Toon said rent will cost more than $25,000 this year alone. A prefabricated building is expected to be placed on the site for Kemp’s offices, according to Toon.

“This is a huge savings to the taxpayers in the long run,” she said.

A second parcel of the Muncy Creek Township property likely will be sold to an already-interested buyer, Toon said.

“The county actually stands to make money on this,” she said.

Although under contract, the actual sale of the Waldron Building is not complete. Edkin said under law, a county judge has to approve the sale of the district-owned building.

“We’re not aware of anything prohibiting the sale,” he said.

Edkin did not know if a court date has been scheduled on the matter, but did say district offices are scheduled to be vacated by April 1.

Commissioners also discussed the acceptance of a $4,984 “sleep safe” grant from the state Department of Health to help prevent Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, suffocation and strangulation.

A $121,850 grant from the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency to support victim services through the Lycoming County District Attorney’s Office also will be reviewed for approval at the commissioners’ meeting on Thursday.