WIUM Local
9:28 am
Fri November 6, 2009

Commissioner Says New Courthouse Still Needed

Kahoka, MO – Clark County residents made it clear that they are not ready for the county to borrow $4-million to build a new courthouse in Kahoka. This does not mean the issue is over for county leaders.

The Clark County Courthouse is more than 125 years old. It is on the National Register of Historic Places.

Voters were asked, November 3, whether the county should borrow the money and whether a sales tax should be created to pay it off. The measures were each defeated by a 3-2 margin.

Clark County Commissioner Paul Allen says the building is no longer safe for employees. He says the county had to move some offices to another building because the courthouse cannot function as home to all county operations.

Allen says the building is also inefficient. Windows throughout the courthouse are covered with plastic to keep wind out and the heating bills down.

Allen says there are also safety issues with the second floor courtroom because it only has one entrance/exit. He says that is a serious fire hazard that cannot be resolved.

He says the county must lease a room in another building for jury selection because the judge does not feel comfortable having a large number of people in the courtroom.

Allen says there is no money in the budget to restore the courthouse. He says it would cost as much to renovate the current building as it would to build a new building, but he says the renovations would only be a temporary fix.

Allen says supporters of a new courthouse will do more door-knocking to talk to every resident about the need for a new facility. He says there should also be more community meetings.

Allen says the borrowing plan will be placed on the ballot as soon as possible. He says the commissioners hope to start working with the courthouse committee as early as next week.