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Courthouse public access hours set

The Prince Edward County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously, 7-0, at its Oct. 8 meeting to establish hours of operation for which the Prince Edward County Courthouse will be open to the public, an Oct. 10 county press release noted. Beginning immediately, the hours of public access are Monday-Friday from 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. The courthouse will be closed and locked at all other times.

Wade Bartlett

Lockett District Supervisor Robert M. “Bobby” Jones was not present at the Oct. 8 board meeting.

“With relocation of the Department of Social Services, the sheriff and I have discussed the possibility of changing the hours that the courthouse is normally open to the public to conduct normal business,” County Administrator Wade Bartlett said during the meeting.

Officials stated in the release that the board made its decision in support of Sheriff Wesley W. Reed’s efforts to more efficiently manage personnel who are responsible for the security of the courthouse. Individual offices within the courthouse operate on varied schedules, which previously necessitated courthouse security for extended hours each day. The new public access hours of operation will reduce the number of hours security will be needed and result in cost savings for taxpayers.

Referring to the hours of 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m., Bartlett said, prior to the board vote, that this “is an eight-and-a-half-hour window which will still allow some flexibility for the various offices to choose when they will be open, but at the same time allow the sheriff to decrease the hours he must man the secure entrance. The sheriff proposes to man the secure entrances from … 7:45 a.m.-4:30 p.m. if the board will adopt this policy. That would decrease the number of hours the sheriff must man the entrance by about 390 hours annually and save about a minimum of $16,000, but most likely more depending on the salaries of the deputies that man the station.”

Although the courthouse is open to the public from 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m., the individual offices within the building will continue to open at varying times, as follows, the release cited:

• County Administration — opens at 8 a.m.

• Health Department — opens at 8 a.m.

• Victim Witness — opens at 8 a.m.

• Piedmont Health District — opens at 8 a.m.

• Treasurer’s Office — opens at 8 a.m.

• Juvenile Probation — opens at 8:30 a.m.

• Combined Courts — opens at 8:30 a.m.

• Clerk of Court — opens at 8:30 a.m.

• Commissioner of Revenue — opens at 8:30 a.m.

• Voter Registrar — opens at 8:30 a.m.

• Commonwealth’s Attorney — opens at 8:30 a.m.

The hours mentioned above are for normal operations, the release noted. There are times the courthouse will be open outside of these hours to allow such activities as voting, Board of Supervisors meetings, etc.

As a reminder, the Prince Edward County Department of Social Services is no longer located in the courthouse, the release conveyed in conclusion. The new address is 56 SMI Way, Suite B, Farmville, VA 23901. Lobby hours are 8 a.m.-4 p.m., and the department phone number is (434) 392-3113. For questions about the hours of operation or services offered by a specific office, contact that office directly.