North Jefferson News, Gardendale, AL

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May 1, 2012

Center Point satellite courthouse reopens

A satellite courthouse in Center Point has reopened its doors, much to the public’s delight.

Last year the courthouse was closed due to Jefferson County’s ongoing financial crisis. Gardendale’s satellite and two others were closed at the same time for the same reason.

The closing of the satellite courthouses forced people to go elsewhere for county services, resulting in long lines at offices in Bessemer and Birmingham. When complaints flooded the Jefferson County Commission, a decision was recently made to reopen the Center Point location.

Jefferson County Commissioner Joe Knight said people were relieved to see the decision carried out.

“The overwhelming response from the people out there has been ‘Hey, thank you for getting this open,’” he said.

Since the reopening, the lines of waiting customers in downtown Birming­ham and Bessemer have been significantly reduced. The reopening also has provided people a closer and more convenient location for north Jefferson County residents.

According to Knight, the Center Point courthouse will allow people to obtain business licenses, have tags renewed and obtain vehicle titles.

Currently, services for driver license renewal are not available in Center Point but is in the works.

Knight said he was unsure when people can obtain driver license renewal, although the county commission is working with the state to try and make it happen.

The status of the Gardendale satellite courthouse remains uncertain. It was popular with area residents, especially those who wanted to avoid driving to Birmingham, trying to find a parking spot and waiting in long lines.

“It’s going to come down to the cost of the technology and the cost of who’s going to man those positions at those cities,” said Knight.

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