There are three plans under consideration for the new courthouse and jail:
1. The “town green” concept with a town square in front of the new courthouse, no parking, still using the old courthouse which we have been told is outdated, requiring a bridge or tunnel to connect the courts to the jail, and with the highest projected ongoing operational costs.
2. The “SPLOST” concept which is the town green concept without the square, with parking attached but still requiring a bridge or tunnel to connect the courts to the jail and with similar higher operating expenses to the town green concept.
3. The “courtyard” concept which cost $2 million less than the other concepts or 2 percent of the $100 million budget, is fully self-contained with the jail, courthouse and parking in one facility, and has the lowest continuing operational costs.
From these choices the nine member panel has decided the “town green” concept makes the most sense? One rationale for choosing the white elephant is it will make the city and county buildings look “more prominent,” as if that is a good thing.
Another justification comes from Pete Amos saying the savings that will be realized by the courtyard concepts lower operating costs may be offset by revenue the town square may generate by maybe bringing businesses downtown. Or Mr. Amos, they probably won’t.
The courtyard concept meets the criteria outlined to the taxpayers to get support for the SPLOST, i.e. a connected, for safety, jail and court system with lower operational costs. The courtyard concept offers the lowest construction costs and ongoing operational expenses. Where’s the question here?
It appears we taxpayers who opposed this SPLOST without a defined building plan were right to be skeptical that our officials could be trusted to do the right thing. If any concept other than the courtyard plan is chosen, the panel and our elected officials have failed us. You know which plan is the right choice. Build it.