New courthouse is the right move

Published 8:35 am Thursday, July 8, 2010

At first glance, many would believe that the Hertford County Commissioners are oblivious to the current downturn in the economy.

Why would the board – five men chosen to stand at the forefront of 20,000-plus citizens – opt to spend nearly $8 million to build a new courthouse at a time when others are delaying such big-ticket projects until the economic picture is brighter?

For the local Commissioners, there is no time better than the present.

After years of debating how to deal with an aging courthouse wrought with public safety issues, the Hertford County Commissioners will proceed with building a new Judicial Center.

The board should be commended for making the correct decision.

While they could have saved nearly $5 million by renovating the current courthouse, the citizens would be left with basically the same as they have now….an old and outdated building, only with a few superficial patches. Five years from now…ten years from now, once that patchwork wears thin, the need for a new facility would still remain.

By investing now, the current and future needs of serving the public are covered. By investing now, during a time when construction costs are lower, the impact of this type of “big ticket” investment is lessened. When the economy does recover, look for construction costs to rise.

Additionally, the county will save at least $60,000 annually on lease agreements they currently have to house public services on private property….offices that will be moved under one roof at the new courthouse.

Safety, security and convenience for the general public, as well as for those working at the courthouse, are at the forefront of the Hertford County Commissioners’ decision to move forward with this project. We think those are three pretty good reasons to make a $7.9 million investment.