Augusta County Supervisors are looking at court services like any other county service, with a business mind.
Supervisors spent money more than a year ago to research and gather solid data and plans for both the current historic courthouse and the proposed new Verona courts building. On the other hand, Staunton City Council spent a little money and gave Frazier & Associates two weeks to put together something that could curb the growing momentum to move the courts to a new Verona location. Supervisors will decide Wednesday whether or not to continue moving forward with putting the decision in the hands of the voters this November.
Here are some facts:
- Staunton’s proposal is more expensive, offers less flexibility, and less parking.
- The new Verona courthouse proposal puts the courts as close as possible to the regional jail, has a wide variety of flexibility, and meets all of the current safety standards.
- The Staunton option builds an elaborate bridge connecting the old with the new, but the proposal doesn’t meet the basic safety standards for court buildings built today.
The choice should be in the hands of the people. The county has a good solid vision. Now it just needs to sell it to the voters. The Staunton News Leader and the Waynesboro News Virginian have done their jobs by keeping the latest back and forth between the governing bodies in front of the voters. Voters should look at this decision with a business mind. The Verona option will bring more jobs and business to the county, will further consolidate government, and is more cost efficient to taxpayers in the long run.
It is very telling that in the final days before the Augusta County Board of Supervisors is set to put its vision to the voters, Staunton City Council rushes in with a proposal that had only two weeks to be put together. Many thanks to the Augusta County Board of Supervisors for their efforts thus far. Keep it up.
David Karaffa is a former Augusta County Supervisor for the Beverley Manor District who now lives with his three daughters in Palm Coast, Florida.