Letter to Editor: Annex Project Bad News for Future Generations

Clarion County is blessed with a very attractive Courthouse, and it along with the historic and unique jail, is on the National Register of Historic Places.

Driving down Clarion’s Main Street, the Courthouse property, flanked by the lovely Memorial Park give a good impression of this area. It lets one know this is a nice place to live.

It is disturbing and possibly not permissible, given its National Historic designation, to change the appearance of this beautiful scene.

The current proposal to locate an Annex on the Courthouse lawn seems to be unnecessary and would in one’s personal opinion give an awkward, unbalanced look to this attractive picture.

On the purely practical side is the high cost of creating another $8 million debt, more than doubling the County’s current approximately $6.2 million debt load by adding another building requiring maintenance and upkeep.

When the Administration building near 3rd and Main Street was purchased it was said to be the solution to all of the County’s needs for more office space.

It seems the biggest waste to this new Annex project is a whole second floor of the Annex for a second courtroom and all the extra offices that would go along with this. There is currently a second courtroom in the court house. It is agreed that some renovations for the courts and other agencies are needed, but not at such a huge cost. Upon a visit to Jefferson County’s court house their second court room is smaller than ours and they have more cases. We don’t have a backlog in the courts and we don’t have a second judge we have a Senior Judge.

When we see how our county is and was taking care of our buildings why would we want them to own more. Get bids for a long term lease for 911. It doesn’t even have to be in Clarion. Also get bids for long term leases for the other agencies that need improved.

We are already in debt 6.2 million and when we make the $500,000 per year payments for the $8,000,000 additional debt, we are wasting approximately $250,000 in interest for at least 30 years and that is a lot more than the $64,000 in rent we spend. When we pay rent we are also getting taxes back into the county. And most Importantly, a big part of that money would be spent in Clarion County. The way we understand it, even after the Annex is built, we are still going to have to pay rent after we spend this $8 million?

It certainly seems to most of us that adding a huge sum to an already difficult debt, means more and more taxes. We are told there will be no tax increase until 2018, but that is small comfort considering the pay off time has been said to be anywhere from 30 to 40 years. Bad news for children and grandchildren. Also bad news for enticing more business and jobs to Clarion County.

Bonnie Sweitzer

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