On Monday we had our groundbreaking for the new Atascosa County Justice Center. This will house two modern, secure criminal and civil courtrooms with offices for up to 4 judges. Judge Ellison, who is our County Court At Law Judge, will move his offices here and his staff. One of the courtrooms will be his primary court home. The Old District Courtroom at the Courthouse will still be the court home of our Senior District Judge, Judge Rayes. The second courtroom will be available on an as needed basis to the AG Judge (Vickers), CPS Judge, visiting judges, as well as our other District Judge, Judge Wilson when he holds court in Atascosa County. Of course if the old courtroom is not being used by Judge Rayes he may use that one as well.
We will also move the adult probation offices to this building from the Elections Office Building. We badly need space for elections and there are many new exciting digital ways to hold them coming down the pipeline. We need to reorganize the elections office for present needs and future. They have outgrown the present space.
And, the County Attorneys Office will be moved to the new Justice Center. Their primary court work is done in Judge Ellisons court so this will be a natural move. This will also open up badly needed space in the courthouse which is presently out of space and full.
Some people have asked why we are spending so much on the Justice Center (10 to 11M). The building will be across the street from the courthouse and will complement, in appearance the color and general look. We (and I) want a building that will last for 50 to 100 years just like the Courthouse has. I have been to every group that would let me talk over the last year speaking to this cost and why. I want you to know that I have carefully considered the value, cost and expenditure. The construction will be financed by a 20 year bond that has a very small and affordable impact on the tax rate. I am sure you do not want your county courts being held in less than desirable accommodations. I have been to several counties our size that have needed to deal with this and I assure they are moving or have moved in the same direction.
I want you to know that I have worked with the commissioners and all parties to hold the line on costs, while making sure we are building quality.
Thanks for listening. We want you to be proud of your County Government.
Bob Hurley is the Atascosa County Judge. You may E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org