I had a good friend who, when he got exasperated with some of my wisecracks, would retort: "You should get a job working at Whirlpool as an agitator!" I believe my retirement years will be spent writing, often as an agitator.
Monarchies, popes and politicians love to spend their time building monuments to immortalize their reigns and accomplishments. Let us discuss the issues regarding whether the proposed new justice center would be a good taxpayer investment, or a monument.
1. Unbiased recommendation. The commissioners have hired a firm to give them a recommendation as to whether they should build a new justice center. But this is the same firm which would design and supervise the construction of the proposed justice center. My guess is that it will cost taxpayers $15 million to $20 million to build it, and the same firm that will give the "impartial" recommendation will be hired to design and supervise the construction, possibly at a five-percent fee. Is this a conflict of interest?
2. Where is the need? All agree the probate/juvenile court needs more space. However, this problem can be handled by using the former Fifth-Third Bank building, which the county owns. This building now sits empty except for the third floor, which currently is used by the county prosecutor, who can vacate and move into the newly vacated probate court building. The cost to do so would be much more modest, and would use a vacant building which the county owns. Look what has happened to the old commissioners' office building on Jefferson Street, which has been vacant for around 15 years.
3. Tiffin Municipal Court needs. Seneca County does not need to add a mammoth expansion to solve Tiffin's court needs. Tiffin already owns the former Salvation Army building, which adjoins the Municipal Building, where it can expand Tiffin Municipal Court.
4. Save the county green. The area formerly occupied by the old courthouse is now a beautiful county green. It already is being used for many community social functions and could be further beautified and it use expanded for many purposes.
5. Let the taxpayers vote as to whether they want to spend money to erect a joint justice center. I vote "no."
Very truly yours,
Michael B. Lange,