Kaufman County Online reports on where local candidates stand on building a new courthouse for Kaufman County.
To summarize the arguments-
Pro New Courthouse- The current courthouse is too small, we need to expand. Let’s move the courts next to our new jail (next to the highway).
Anti New Courthouse- Voters rejected this idea. Quit issuing bonds and raising taxes. The voters rejected a new $22M courthouse two years ago.
The Kaufman County Courthouse is located on the Courthouse Square in downtown Kaufman.
Texas has some great courthouses, Ellis County (Waxahachie) is my local favorite. One thing our courthouse does not have going for it is aesthetics. Our courthouse is…. not beautiful.
The courthouse hosts 4 courts, the District Attorney, District and County Clerk, and the County Judge’s office. It is crowded and jury trials are difficult in the two smaller court rooms. Kaufman is growing and expansion is going to become a necessity.
Save Downtown Kaufman
Beyond dispensing justice and solving legal problems the Courthouse also sustains downtown Kaufman. The square is host to numerous law offices (including my office), retail, and restaurants. My favorite lunch stop on the square is Kudo’s.
Moving the courthouse would kill downtown. There are many buildings for sale on the square. I have often considering buying. The possibility of the courts moving is depressing downtown real estate values and deterring investors.
If town squares have value, then Kaufman’s is worth saving.
I propose that the county purchase some of the empty buildings on the square and relocate some non court offices. Or, buy the land northwest of the courthouse and build a new courts building there. Maybe make one court building for county courts/clerk and one for district courts/clerk.
Create criminal courts and move those next to the jail. That would cut down on transportation costs for prisoners and leave the courthouse open downtown.
Legalize drugs. This would reduce the need for more jails and court rooms and increase sales tax revenue. A win/win. I’m not sure if our county commisioner’s would support this plan.