If York County voters fail to endorse $89.9 million in bonds, the result will affect residents’ safety, law enforcement and court officials said Wednesday.
Kevin Brackett, solicitor for the 16th Circuit which covers York and Union counties, said unless he can expand his office and hire new attorneys – as well as have secure courtrooms – he would be forced to prioritize cases.
Joining Brackett on Wednesday outside the York County Family Court – a doublewide trailer in Rock Hill – were York County Sheriff Bruce Bryant, state Rep. Tommy Pope of York, a former solicitor, and David Hamilton, York County clerk of court.
They spoke at the kickoff event in preparation for the Nov. 3 York County bond referendum.
Brackett, Bryant and Hamilton have been constant advocates for improving the county’s courts, the Moss Justice Center and the clerk’s office since the idea was proposed in the summer of 2014.
The York County Council has proposed a bond referendum to:
▪ Build a new Family Court facility at the county’s Heckle Boulevard property in Rock Hill and renovate several existing offices at the Heckle complex.
▪ Expand the Moss Justice Center in York, creating two new courtrooms, a DNA laboratory and office space for the sheriff, solicitor, public defender, and probation, pardon and parole offices, and adding a parking deck.
▪ Construct a new recycling processing center and expand other public works facilities in the county.
▪ Replace the Fort Mill magistrate office and improve the Clover magistrate office.
The bonds would not be used to renovate the York County Courthouse in downtown York or construct a new government administrative building.
Citizens and Business for York County, a group advocating the referendum, estimates the bonds would increase residential taxes by $2.30 per month per $100,000 of house value.
Bryant said when he was elected 19 years ago the sheriff’s office was out of space at the Moss Justice Center. As the country has grown, demands for space have increased, he said. Evidence from past and current cases is stored at multiple locations, he said.
Pope said there were space issues when he was solicitor in 1993. Security issues are even more important in the wake of various terrorism and domestic attacks, he said. “Moss security is not what it needs to be,” Pope said.
Hamilton said his office lacks desk, filing and courtroom space, as well as security.
In 2006, voters rejected a countywide bond referendum by a 2-to-1 margin. At the time, the county wanted to borrow $75 million to build or improve the county jail, court facilities, libraries, customer service centers, a recycling center and cultural venues.
Manning Kimmel, a spokesman for Citizens and Business for York County, said “substandard facilities can’t deliver first-rate services.” The citizen and business group will hold an Oct. 18 open house from 2 to 4 p.m. for facilities that would be affected by the bond referendum. Two community meetings on the bond referendum are also planned: 6:30 p.m. Oct. 26 at Tega Cay Elementary School and 6 p.m. Oct. 28 at the Laurel Creek Magnolia Room.