Is it really free?

Published 9:34 am Wednesday, July 5, 2023

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To the Editor:

The Northampton County Commissioner’s board chair, Charles Tyner, has mentioned numerous times in his meetings that the new Courthouse complex will not cost the Northampton County taxpayers any money. No tax increase. The money is in the bank.

But is it really free? Yes, maybe the initial cost of the courthouse and annex building projected at 19 million dollars was given from the taxpayers with state and federal funds.

Believe me, I’m not arguing the fact that we don’t need a new courthouse, (even though the projected one doesn’t look like a courthouse). Yes, the monies received kept the county from securing bonds or raising the tax rate to fund the project, but the majority of us will see a massive increase in our property taxes due to the current re-evaluation, far more than the lowering of the tax rate effect could help.

Let’s look at the required maintenance, utilities and landscaping. Are we going to have any funds left over from the state to cover the higher utilities required to heat, cool and light the new buildings vs. the old one? It’s got to be higher compared to its size. Landscaping, well that’s a sore subject, the county can’t keep the grass on current county owned properties cut, so let’s add another 10 (-+) acres and try to keep up with. Or are we going to contract it out to a private landscaper like we did with property in Rich Square. Hopefully it won’t look like the Northampton EMS building in Milwaukee, previously uncut for weeks, even when occupied by our EMS personnel, with weeds 3+ feet tall, and now left abandoned for years.

How about the custodial duties of the new buildings, buildings that size are going to take some time and effort to keep clean.

The land cost, well let’s just say bet everyone wishes they had land they could sell the county or anyone else for $62,105 per acre. If memory serves me correctly that same parcel of land or close to it was proposed to be a nice new Food Lion grocery store and maybe even other retail stores, bringing jobs and tax money to our county.

Taxpayers in Northampton County, sometime in the near future we will incur expenses for this project.

In closing, just remember things that seem free are not always free.

Ronnie Woodard