An agreement has been reached between 1st District Court and the state for that court system to be turned over to the state on Jan. 1, 1989.
State court administrators met with Box Elder County commissioners and county clerk to begin working out terms of that agreement.The state will have a full-service lease with the county. A standard contract will be presented to the county for any modifications the county and state work out.
The courtroom, the judge's chambers, the clerk's office and jury room will all be part of the lease. County Clerk Allen Jensen will remain a county employee and will handle marriage licenses and passports. The deputy county clerks, the district judge and his secretary, court reporter and other court personnel will become state employees.
Mike G. Allphin, district court administrator, said that within several years, a separate building for the various courts will become a top priority. Circuit court and juvenile court are already under state control.
The juvenile court is located on the top floor of the courthouse and circuit court is located in the Brigham City building.
Juvenile court recently requested additional space from the county because of inadequate space for all personnel and lack of safety features in the courtroom.
In other business, Margo Eberhard, administrator of Pioneer Memorial Nursing Home in Brigham City, told county commissioners that a shortage of patients is causing problems.
"Every nursing home in the state has been affected. I've cut the staff and hours, but we've got to offer those services," she said. "I don't dare cut any more."
The 76-bed nursing home, which is owned by the county, has 18 vacant beds. A private nursing home in Brigham City at last count 12 vacancies, she said.
Commissioner Jim White said Box Elder County Nursing Home in Tremonton has stayed full. Operation of that nursing home was taken over by Bear River Valley Hospital several months ago.
Eberhard said the economy has had an impact but several other factors are also involved. Medicare has become very stringent. "It used to be that someone with a fractured hip would stay in the nursing home two months. Now it is two weeks."
Home care has also affected the nursing homes. "There is a great need for `day care,' " she said. "We may have to take a serious look at it soon."
Box Elder County is one of the few counties that still owns and operates a nursing home. Other counties have opted to sell their nursing homes or lease them to private operators.
County Surveyor Denton Beecher also reported to commissioners, saying the county owns about 70 pieces of property. Much of that property is valuable and usable, including sites of nursing homes, road sheds, landfills, and the county buildings. But some pieces of property could be sold.
Commissioners instructed Beecher to evaluate properties so they can decide whether to sell surplus property.
Beecher said some parcels are 40 and 80 acres, in addition to other smaller pieces that would be big enough for building lots.
Through tax sales and errors in boundary descriptions, the county has acquired some odd pieces of property, Beecher said. The county owns a 2-foot strip of property in Brigham City, an 8-inch strip and a 1-inch strip in Corinne, a road in Penrose and several 1-foot-square pieces. One strip of county-owned land is shown on maps but no such strip of land exists at the site.