Ju­di­cial cen­ter to get $12.3M ex­pan­sion

The Covington News - - FRONT PAGE - BRYAN FAZIO bfazio@cov­news.com

The New­ton County Ju­di­cial Cen­ter will be ex­panded soon af­ter a unan­i­mous de­ci­sion by the Board of Com­mis­sion­ers (BOC) to uti­lize ex­cess funds from the 2011 Spe­cial Pur­pose Lo­cal Op­tions Sales Tax was passed Tues­day evening.

The ad­di­tions will in­clude a third-floor ex­pan­sion to the ju­di­cial cen­ter and were passed in the 2011 SPLOST, but county es­ti­mates for de­sign, ren­o­va­tion and ex­pan­sion were un­der the ac­cepted pro­posal from Ho­gan Con­struc­tion Group.

Ho­gan’s es­ti­mate was $12,382,450, ex­ceed­ing the $7,000,000 as­signed from SPLOST rev­enues by the county.

The BOC agreed to pay the dif­fer­ence out of SPLOST funds that have ex­ceeded the $57,600,000 pre­dicted to be raised by the 2011 tax.

“I just want to thank judges for their pa­tience,” said Dis­trict 3 Com­mis­sioner Nancy Schulz, who was a BOC mem­ber in 2011. “This is a big re­lief for us to have our day to­day.”

In a sym­bolic ges­ture, all five com­mis­sion­ers agreed to be recorded in the min­utes as mak­ing the mo­tion, and of­fered a sec­ond mo­tion to uti­lize ex­cess SPLOST funds to pay for the com­plete ju­di­cial cen­ter ex­pan­sion.

“It is a good day for the ci­ti­zens of New­ton County and the peo­ple who want their cases moved up a lit­tle faster,” said Dis­trict 4 Com­mis­sioner J.C. Hen­der­son, who was also on the board in 2011.

Su­pe­rior Court Judges Sa­muel Ozburn, Ho­race John­son and Ken Wynne were present for the vote, held in the His­toric Court­house.

“We ap­pre­ci­ate your con­fi­dence and we are look­ing for­ward to work­ing with you in com­plet­ing this in a way New­ton County and its ci­ti­zens can be proud of,” Ozburn told the BOC. “We will put it to good use.”

Bryan Fazio | The Cov­ing­ton News

May­ors and city man­agers from New­ton County’s mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties gather around a ta­ble with New­ton County Chair Keith El­lis, County Man­ager Lloyd Kerr and County At­tor­ney Me­gan Martin at the New­ton County His­toric Court­house Tues­day.

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