Several dozen people gathered in downtown York Monday to talk about the court and public works projects in York County’s $90 million bond vote Nov. 3.
The 32-member York subcommittee of the countywide Citizens and Business for York County organized a 75-minute rally to provide information and encourage support for the bond.
“Two-third of the construction is going to take place on the outskirts of York,” said York attorney Jim Bradford, who is chairman of the York subcommittee with Steve Love. “And we feel the projects are worthwhile.”
He noted that a county administrative building planned in downtown York is not included in the the bond, “but it’s our strong belief that should the bond referendum carry, the administrative building would be the next major construction project. And with passage of the bond referendum, that would happen sooner rather than later.”
Sixteenth Circuit Solicitor Kevin Brackett, York County Sheriff Bruce Bryant and Clerk of Court David Hamilton all spoke during the rally, saying their offices and staff members need more work space.
“If we do not expand the criminal court facilities in this county, I will not be able to keep you safe in the manner to which you have become accustomed,” he told the crowd.
Brackett said his office won’t have the space to hire the legal staff to keep up with the demands of the growing court system. “We will not be able to sustain the level of service,” he said.
Brackett, Bryant and Hamilton cited problems that include using mobile office space, storing evidence and files at several locations rather than in one place and having critical staff members scattered across the county at different locations.
“We have so many needs in this county, and we have spent years and years and years talking about those needs, and now it’s time for action,” Bryant said.
Bryant said the Moss Justice Center was at capacity on the first day his staff occupied it. “We were out of space the day we moved in,” he said. “We have never had empty office space at Moss.”
Hamilton said poor security at Moss is another serious issue, because the security was much less of a concern when the justice complex was built 20 years ago.
Hamilton said two double wide trailers were added to serve as a courtroom and as a judge’s chambers “as a Band-Aid” when the last bond referendum failed.
“My staff desperately needs space,” he said.
Hamilton and Brackett both offered to give tours of their offices to people who want to see how the space is used. Brackett said after such a tour, “we have not had anyone who was not convinced of the need.”
Jennifer Becknell: 803-329-4077
The proposed $90 million bond issue would be used to:
▪ Expand the Moss Justice Center near 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.
▪ 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.
▪ 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, which is underway, 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.