New courthouse in Toombs Co. depends on SPLOST vote

New courthouse in Toombs Co. depends on SPLOST vote

TOOMBS COUNTY, Ga. (WTOC) - For a year, talks of building a new Toombs County Courthouse have been on the table. With decisions finalized, it’s now up to the community.

The county manager says making renovations to this existing courthouse would have cost too much, so after an assessment was made, the county decided that building a new courthouse was the best option.

But the voters have the final say come March.

Since 1964 this building has been home to the Toombs County Courthouse. However, since the 70′s there haven’t been any major renovations done to it.

Now, because of some major issues, the idea is to completely start over.

“The cost to renovate this courthouse, expand it, was going to be prohibitive. The best course of action was for us to create and build a new courthouse all together," said John Jones, the City Manager.

For a year, finding the right architect and ways to finance it have been the main topics of discussion.

Without having to cost tax payers any additional money, it'll be paid for through the Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax that people already pay.

“If that vote passes in renewing this 1% sales tax then we’ll proceed on with this project.”

Taxpayer, Brittney Sexton says she supports the SPLOST tax saying renewing it isn’t even a question since it’s for the betterment of the county.

“You’re already paying it now, so what’s it going to hurt in 6 months, 12 months or another year," asked Sexton.

The renewal for it will be on the ballot on Mar. 24. With the new courthouse would come several big changes, making coming to the courthouse more convenient.

“Right now, we’re operating with two courtrooms. When two courts are taking place at the same time, we don’t have any room to have the courts going on and there’s very little room for parking," said Jones.

The current courthouse will be turned into parking spaces and the current Ross Bowan building and E.M.A building will be where the new courthouse will sit. The county says other funding projects are also tied to this SPLOST.

“Not only would this project stop, but also the other capital items that we buy. This is how we pay for police cars and this is how we pay for all of the equipment it takes to run the operations of the county,” said Jones.

If SPLOST is renewed they will also be adding 60 additional beds in the jail along with some much-needed renovations to it.

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