Three versions of plans for the new courthouse will be presented to the Dawson County Board of Commissioners on Thursday.
Only two versions include the property at the intersection of Hwy. 53 West and Shoal Creek Road, currently owned by the Turner family, which the county had considered condemning to build the courthouse.
“Over the past couple of months we’ve been working with the Turner family, looking at options for their property,” said Dawson County Manager Kevin Tanner. “We’ve come up with a couple of versions of a project that would incorporate part of the Turner property and still allow them to build their office buildings, but still allow us take advantage of some of that property and use some of the property.”
Rosser International, the architects hired to design the new courthouse, will also present an idea that will not use the Turner property. Officials plan to discuss different cost options of all three versions and ask the commission to give direction on how to proceed with the $40 million 1-cent sales tax approved project.
“Whatever we do and whatever the considerations given, a lot will have to do with the budget and the amount of money the options would cost,” said Tanner.
The options include a 30,000 square feet, three-story courthouse with a three-level parking deck across Shoal Creek Road; a 30,000 square foot, three-story courthouse with a parking extension to the current second lot on Shoal Creek; and a slimmed down version that does not incorporate the Turner property.
“My recommendation will be based on what I feel like is in the best interest of the county and the taxpayers, based on the amount I think we’re going to collect over the life of the SPLOST for this courthouse project,” Tanner said. “There is a difference in price. Rosser will be discussing that on Thursday night.”
A bonded SPLOST V project, the construction of the courthouse, when approved, was based on what the county anticipated receiving from future collections of sales tax revenue. The staggering economy has led to lower than anticipated revenue coming into the county.
“We’re continuing to monitor that situation to see now that the economy is down significantly from what it was a year ago and two years ago,” said Tanner.
Next week Bob Ivey, the county’s sales tax manager, and Rosser plan to meet with stakeholders (judges, court staff, the clerk’s office, individuals that are in the courthouse and administrative areas of the building) to determine the county’s true needs in the new courthouse and administration building.
“Then we’ll take all that back to the commissioners in the next few weeks with a project that would come in within budget, come in within the amount that’s actually collected at the end of the SPLOST within the six years,” Tanner said.
E-mail Michele Hester at firstname.lastname@example.org.