Fannin Co. Officials Discuss Building New Courthouse - KTEN.com - No One Gets You Closer

Fannin Co. Officials Discuss Building New Courthouse

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BONHAM, TX -- After more than a century standing in the center of town, some Fannin County officials say the county courthouse has served its useful life, but not everyone agrees.

For years, county officials have discussed renovating the courthouse, but now there is a different plan being discussed which involves building a new courthouse.

The last major renovation to the Fannin County Courthouse was nearly 50 years ago. "The county has spent quite a few funds on trying to upgrade the roof, and upgrade some of the areas, like just around the outside," says purchasing agent Jill Holmes.

Some officials say the situation has gotten to the point where putting money into the  building, the guts of which date back to the 1880's, just is not worth the expense.

"The current thought is it's a better use of taxpayer money to go up for a bond issue and have a new courts building," says district attorney Richard Glaser.

"Ultimately we can't stay in this building forever, so if we don't have a plan we're not moving forward," says county clerk Tammy Biggar.

Under the plan now being considered by a Long Term Planning Committee, the current courthouse would remain in place, but many of the offices inside would move to the new building at a different location.

"We've added a new county court at law, so we've got some new personnel that's been brought in to support that, you've got the safety issue with inmates being in the hallway with the public," says Biggar.

"Jurors need to have a private entrance, also when we need to bring inmates over from the jail, they should be brought in through a secured entrance and not mixed with the public, and not have to use the same restroom," says district Judge Lauri Blake.

County Judge "Spanky" Carter says he is very worried about the tax burden a new building could cause, but in the end, he says any decision will be up to voters.

"That one's not bad or nothing it's just they need a little bit more space we got a lot of stuff going on these days," says one resident.

"Anytime you are building anything, that brings in business to the local economy," says an  area resident.

Officials say the courthouse also has fire code problems. They plan to get public input, and if they do decide to go forward with this plan, it would then go to the public for a bond vote.