Upgrades to a bench for county judges will be implemented, one month after the Hamilton County Commission tabled a resolution to set $8,000 in previously unbudgeted funds for the work.
The group voted unanimously Wednesday to put the funds toward renovations to Courtroom 6, which had been previously used as a jury room. The changes are part of what commissioners hinted could be more extensive renovations for the room to ensure safety during civil cases.
Among the changes are alterations to the bench's height, along with measures that will provide protection for judges in the event that a gun be fired in the direction of the bench. Future changes to the courtroom could include entry and exit paths for judges into the room.
Earlier this year, commissioners bickered over the funds.
The money came into question after some commissioners learned that a group of their colleagues, including Mayor Jim Coppinger, had examined the courtroom and held discussion on the matter without their knowledge. The group deferred the resolution for more than a month.
Before voting to approve the measure Wednesday, at least two commissioners stated for the record their concerns about the safety of the courtroom, even after initial renovations.
Commissioner Jim Fields said the fixes represented a small portion of a larger problem.
"I will be supporting this resolution, but, however, I think it's a very minimum procedure for addressing an issue in the courthouse," Fields said. "But it's what we can do right now to alleviate some of the concerns for the judges' safety over there."
Commissioner Joe Graham offered a similar opinion.
"I feel like we're putting a Band-Aid on an open wound," he said.
The group also voted Wednesday to approve the purchase of 18 Tasers for the Hamilton County Sheriff's Department for a total of $27,700. Commissioner Fred Skillern said that funding for the purchase had been procured through a grant and came at no additional cost to the city.