Survey reveals courthouse ideas

Voters would prefer facility west of town

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— Routt County voters are more likely to vote to finance a new courthouse if it is built west of town near the existing jail and if it does not include a parking garage, a survey showed.

Texas-based Hill Research Consultants called 301 people who voted on the failed courthouse initiative in the Nov. 5 election earlier this month to determine their attitudes about the proposed judicial facility.

"Assuming a better economy and improved climate of trust, a future proposal that either eliminates what is perceived to be a costly and inefficient parking garage or that secures more taxpayer value by building on the outskirts of town, or does both, has a much better chance of success," Hill Research analysts concluded.

Retired 14th Judicial District Richard Doucette has ordered the county to provide a safe and adequate facility for its courts.

The county is expected to find a way to finance and complete a new court facility by mid-2006.

County officials are using the survey to weigh the practicality of taking another court facility project to voters this November.

About 59 percent of voters rejected the courthouse initiative for a number of reasons. The survey identified those as the project's size, cost, location, parking structure and proposed 1.3-mill property tax increase.

County Commissioner Doug Monger said so many factors exist that it will be difficult to come up with a proposal that meets voters' wishes. "We have a bunch of different things all rolled in together in there," he said. "There are a lot more things you could disapprove of."

The survey identified a high sensitivity to new taxes. "I think it's really questionable as to whether we can win a tax question," County Manager Tom Sullivan said.

He agreed the mix of voters' objections in the survey would complicate efforts to present a project that could pass in November.

"What we don't know with this survey is what we change," Sullivan said. "It's really questionable about what we change that we will still be able to get a majority of people to vote for the project."

The survey concludes that voters were well informed about arguments for and against a new court facility, but they didn't tell county officials how they felt about the issue, County Commissioner Nancy Stahoviak said.

"They waited and said it at the election," Stahoviak said.

She encouraged voters to attend meetings and contact their elected officials before making a second decision about the project.

"If people want to be heard they have to let us know ... before going to the ballot," Stahoviak said.

County officials hope to gather a cross-section of residents to sit on a committee that helps craft a new court facility proposal.

Those interested in sitting on the committee should contact the county commissioners at 879-0108.

Texas-based Hill Research Consultants called 301 people who voted on the failed courthouse initiative in the Nov. 5 election earlier this month to determine their attitudes about the proposed judicial facility.

"Assuming a better economy and improved climate of trust, a future proposal that either eliminates what is perceived to be a costly and inefficient parking garage or that secures more taxpayer value by building on the outskirts of town, or does both, has a much better chance of success," Hill Research analysts concluded.

Retired 14th Judicial District Richard Doucette has ordered the county to provide a safe and adequate facility for its courts.

The county is expected to find a way to finance and complete a new court facility by mid-2006.

County officials are using the survey to weigh the practicality of taking another court facility project to voters this November.

About 59 percent of voters rejected the courthouse initiative for a number of reasons. The survey identified those as the project's size, cost, location, parking structure and proposed 1.3-mill property tax increase.

County Commissioner Doug Monger said so many factors exist that it will be difficult to come up with a proposal that meets voters' wishes. "We have a bunch of different things all rolled in together in there," he said. "There are a lot more things you could disapprove of."

The survey identified a high sensitivity to new taxes. "I think it's really questionable as to whether we can win a tax question," County Manager Tom Sullivan said.

He agreed the mix of voters' objections in the survey would complicate efforts to present a project that could pass in November.

"What we don't know with this survey is what we change," Sullivan said. "It's really questionable about what we change that we will still be able to get a majority of people to vote for the project."

The survey concludes that voters were well informed about arguments for and against a new court facility, but they didn't tell county officials how they felt about the issue, County Commissioner Nancy Stahoviak said.

"They waited and said it at the election," Stahoviak said.

She encouraged voters to attend meetings and contact their elected officials before making a second decision about the project.

"If people want to be heard they have to let us know ... before going to the ballot," Stahoviak said.

County officials hope to gather a cross-section of residents to sit on a committee that helps craft a new court facility proposal.

Those interested in sitting on the committee should contact the county commissioners at 879-0108.

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