PILOT LIGHT: Opposition Organizing on Planned County Detention Center
Opponents of a huge detention center in downtown Carthage will make their presence known Monday when the Moore County Board of Commissioners convenes for a special meeting to adopt the new budget.
Since an initial meeting Tuesday night, the protest group has secured about 200 signatures on a petition opposing the downtown location of a detention center designed for future expansion to house 600 or more in-mates.
Opponents cited such things as safety issues, changes in property values and effect on the historic downtown area.
"Anyone in Moore County can sign the petition," said Bert Patrick, who shared presiding duties with Rita Booth Tuesday night. "They all have a vested interest because they will be paying for it."
Signs are being sold for interested opponents to place in their yards. Patrick said anyone interested in signing the petition may do so at United Country Sandhills Realty, 408 McNeill St., Carthage.
BUDGET -- The primary purpose of the special meeting, however, is adoption of the county budget ordinance for 2009-2010. The new budget must be in place by July 1, beginning of the new fiscal year.
The commissioners will meet at 5 p.m. in the historic courthouse in downtown Carthage.
Also on the agenda is a decision about the siting of three buildings planned by the county.
Progress toward adoption of architectural design has been delayed until a decision can be made about the site for a county government office building. This was originally planned for the Grimm property in downtown Carthage, purchased by the county two years ago for the purpose of building an office complex, adding a public safety center and enlarging the county jail.
However, questions have since been raised about the possible need to build an additional courts facility, which, if erected on the Grimm property, would leave little or no room for the office building.
County officials have looked at the Carriage Oaks Complex as an alternative site for the office building. The county already owns this property. By moving the office building to Carriage Oaks, officials reason that it would leave room on the Grimm property for the jail expansion and the additional courts building. Officials say that it would be more convenient and practical to have the jail and the court facilities in close proximity to each other.
The board is expected to examine the latest findings of the architects and to make a decision about siting and design of the buildings.
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