We have one word on the proposed quarter cent public safety sales tax for a new Johnson County Courthouse and coroner’s facility.
While we agree the current, aging courthouse, is much less than ideal; we’re not convinced blowing up a $56 million dollar county asset for more downtown Olathe “green space” is a good plan.
If – and that’s IF- the current courthouse can’t be revamped, can’t it be used for something? Olathe repurposed the old Patron’s Bank building into their city hall, why not figure out something to do with the old courthouse?
Why just blow it up?
The county currently has the courthouse insured at $56 million. That’s for the building, only, and is roughly twice what the county has the new administration building insured for.
$56 million is a pretty expensive asset to implode.
At the very least, create additional parking.
While the county says they have done a study showing parking in downtown Olathe is adequate, we disagree. And by building the new courthouse across Santa Fe, additional safety problems will be created for pedestrians crossing at Kansas and Santa Fe. Those problems should have been discussed before putting this proposed tax increase on the ballot.
We also say “no” on the coroner’s facility. We’ve yet to see a real need for a $19 million coroner’s facility. Information provided by the county indicates there is currently no backlog of autopsies, and the county’s budget for services is about $1 million per year.
While a new $19 million coroner’s facility would be a “star in the cap” for Johnson County, we don’t see that it is needed. Plus, if built, we’ve yet to see numbers on what it will cost annually for staff.
This proposed quarter cent sales tax has not been thought out.
We will vote “no.”