Franklin County Sales Tax Referendum - 2017

The Franklin County Board voted recently to put a referendum on the April 4, 2017 ballot for the adoption of a one percent sales tax for a period of 20 years to pay for a new Franklin County Courthouse. The purpose of this information page is to present factual information to the public concerning the referendum, tax, and various statues that apply to this ballot issue.

Franklin County Courthouse Issues / Needs

The Franklin County Board has identified the need for immediate resolution of building issues concerning the Franklin County Courthouse. The Board has considered the following facts while determining the proper course of action concerning the issue:

  • Courthouse is 140 years’ old, with an addition in the 1980’s
  • Increased traffic from original use has caused crowding and inadequate space to house various offices and related records storage requirements
  • Cost of maintenance continues to rise significantly 
  • Support in the building's foundation and general structure has deteriorated over the course of time
  • Not easily accessible to citizens with disabilities -- elevator non-compliant with no room to remodel/update
  • Issues with courtrooms and accommodations for keeping accused criminals separated from jurors and civilians (single secure entrance to courthouse means accused enter with the public)
  • Court areas pose a risk of a mistrial because accused cannot be seen in shackles by jurors
  • Courtrooms themselves generally too small creating crowding and closeness of participants
  • County boardroom is sometimes used as a courtroom despite being inadequately arranged
  • The Facility is difficult and expensive to heat and cool because of its construction, age and technology of units
  • Outdated electrical system cannot accommodate a generator to be used in case of an emergency
  • Windows in the building are old and non-insulated

Referendum Proposal

  • Franklin County will build a new courthouse, on a site to be determined -- hopefully close to the present site
  • Franklin County will finance construction of the new Courthouse by using a 1% sales tax increase specifically for public facilities for the period required to pay for a new courthouse of around 60,000 square feet
  • The decision to implement this tax will be made by voters at the April 4, 2017 election