Construction of a new Criminal Justice Center Wednesday was the hot topic at the Maury County Commissions Building committee. Maury County commissioners continued the debate on building the $30-million facility. Local Judges urged the full commission to begin the work. Judges say the aging Maury County courthouse is overcrowded and unsafe. They also cite potential security problem.
County commissions say there is a need. Commission Chairman Scott Cepicki said the justice center is need but there are more dire needs in Maury County. He said spending $30 to $35-million dollars is 16 cents on the tax rate and it means no new jobs.
Judge Jim Hamilton described how overcrowding problems are facing the courts and creating problems. He said there’s no place for a lawyer to sit down with his client as they face serious criminal cases.
He added there are serious security problems. Commission Don Morrow said he’s seen the problems and not only criminals but innocent people there who would benefit from a new Justice Center.
Judge Stella Hargrove said all those who use the courthouse know its not working and cited the potential problems associated with domestic disputes. Judge Bobby Sands said Maury County’s growing and faces more drug cases as well as DUI’s and other issues. Juvenile Judge George Lovell said Juvenile Court law has expanded unbelievably.
Commissioner Davis Burkhaulter said there is a need but indicated not one person in his district has asked him to spend $30-million dollars on a Justice Center. He said there has to be other solutions.
Commissioner Tom Primm said he knows there’s overcrowding and it needs to be fixed. He added he’s concerned about safety and fire codes.
The County Commission will have to decide on whether to go forward on the funding and building. At present they have given Architect George Nuber the authority to develop plans that can be bid out so cost estimates can be received on the project.
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