Chatham closing its village court
Emilia Teasdale is reporting for The Columbia Paper the Chatham Village Board voted unanimously in a February 8 online meeting, to pass a local law eliminating the village court and the position of village judge. The court will remain open until early April, when the term of current village Judge James Borgia-Forster expires. The village board held a public hearing on the local law before the board’s regular meeting. One resident, Lael Locke, a former village board member, asked why the board planned to close the court and whether it was for financial reasons. Mayor John Howe said the court was previously sustained by the revenues it brought in, but in recent years court finances had been “pretty much a wash.” However, as of last year “we’re in the red,” he said. In 2020, the court was forced to shut down due to the pandemic, resulting in no revenue from court activity. In addition to the cost of the court, the mayor said the village paid two police officers to be at court when cases were being heard. Tickets and other court issues in the village will now go to the town courts in Chatham and Ghent. Part of the village is located in the town of Chatham and part in the town of Ghent. Of the four villages in Columbia County, only Kinderhook and Philmont still have their own courts. Read the full story in The Columbia Paper.