The recent decision by the Pulaski County Council against funding a proposed courthouse renovation until the New Year has prompted consideration of a new approach by the County Commissioners.
A contentious meeting held last week led the commissioners to propose an $8.5-million renovation and addition to the current courthouse. That proposal was rejected by the council after members of the public spoke out against the expense.
The Commissioners have now expressed an interest in finding out what could work moving forward. Commission President Terry Young says the commissioners are trying to uphold the Americans with Disabilities Act.
“In essence, the council are holding our hands in trying to obey the law for the citizens of the county,” says Young. “Especially disabled people. It just makes me sick that people have no respect for disabled people. Some people have no respect for disabled people.”
If approved, the committee is anticipated to be made up of current members of the board of commissioners and the county council, but also those that are seeking election to those boards this November.
Among the initial reasons for rejecting the proposal was putting much of the work of completing the proposed upgrades on representatives that may not support the construction at all, or simply a different solution to the county’s compliance issues.
Pulaski County does not consider its courthouse in compliance with the ADA. . Commissioner Larry Brady says that could create future legal and funding problems for the highway department if they’re not addressed.
“If you guys want to dry up the source of funding opportunities, that’s the direction you want to head, that’s your decision,” says Brady. “But currently, my direction is: make us qualify for the money.”
Forming the committee was tabled until July.
Pulaski County has considered several alternative proposals to the full renovation and addition that could save taxpayers, but was not voted on last week.