Franklin County Board to Decide if Sales Tax for Courthouse Should Go to Voters

Franklin County Board to Decide if Sales Tax for Courthouse Should Go to Voters

FRANKLIN COUNTY — The Franklin County Board will discuss with possible action at tonight’s meeting a resolution submitting a sales tax proposal to voters in Franklin County in April that would generate revenue for construction of a new county courthouse in Benton.

Voters in Franklin County have turned down two sales tax proposals for a new courthouse in recent years. The County Board is hoping the third time will be the charm.

County Board Chairman Randall Crocker says state statute allows for a sales tax to be created exclusively for public facility purposes like a courthouse. Crocker says the current courthouse has outlived is purpose and is getting harder to keep open every day with all the problems plaguing the structure that was built in the early 1870s.

Crocker says the preliminary cost for the project will be in the $15 million range. It calls for the current courthouse on the square to be torn down with a new courthouse being built there, complete renovations to the Campbell Building and move the county clerk and treasurer’s office there and temporarily relocate the circuit clerk’s office and all courts to the vacant antiques building on the east side of the square until the new courthouse is finished.

Crocker says the referendum will have a sunset clause calling for the sales tax to end once the new courthouse is paid off.

If the referendum passes, Crocker says work would immediately start and be finished in 24 months.

Tonight’s meeting starts at 6 at the Campbell Building on the Benton Square and is open to the public.