I recently saw a report on Toledo Channel 11 6 p.m. news revealing that the Seneca County politicos have hired an outside consultant firm to do a study costing $435,000, which will tell them they need another courthouse, with the intention of building it on the county green (old courthouse location).
I have some passing thoughts in this regard:
1. A better outcome might be achieved if the consultants would advise the county that it could fulfill its purpose with a much smaller expenditure, by considering the following:
a) Use the space from the Fifth Third Bank building, which is owned by the county, to house the probate and juvenile courts; or
b) Expand the probate and juvenile courts building to the south, into the present parking lot.
Either of these options would be far less expensive than the $12 million I estimate for the proposed new courthouse.
2. Why eliminate and destroy the beautiful new green town center, which is becoming the focus of so many local activities? Designs are being prepared for a community gazebo in the open space, as well as a proposed band shell for such events as Jazzin' Tiffin and other music festivals featuring our local universities and other local talent. Events such as Pizza Palooza and the art fair have already brought enthusiastic crowds to the downtown with vendors setting up displays all around the county green.
3. The politicos plan to finance the bonds for a new courthouse as income bonds rather than using the county's "full faith and credit.
Selling income bonds without full faith and credit" has two effects:
a) It will cause the interest/expense to the county to mushroom. My guess is it will increase the interest/expense to the county by an additional one percent per year. So, $12 million over 30 years would be a substantial drain to the county's operating income.
b) As our spokesman explained on the Channel 11 news report, this bonding will eliminate the right of our citizens to vote on the bonding issue. The Advertiser-Tribune reported that bond counsel is already being selected to sell bonds for the project.
4. On Facebook, I created an "Over and Under" choice to determine whether the followers agree with my estimate of $12 million to build a new courthouse. I asked what their estimate of the total costs is. The first response I received was $20 million.
Give the people the right to decide and vote!
Very truly yours,
Michael B. Lange,