Voters to decide future of Ottawa County courthouse

Tuesday, July 15th 2003, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

MIAMI, Okla. (AP) _ Ottawa County commissioners want voters to decide whether the county should build a new courthouse.

Commissioners voted Monday to put the question on the November ballot.

If approved, the ballot initiative would begin the $6.6 million construction of a 50,000-square-foot building, said Presiding Commissioner James Leake.

The current courthouse is 87 years old and in violation of several fire codes. A May inspection by the state fire marshal found 27 fire code violations.

Inspectors with the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration have also found problems in the building, which is settling badly in two wings added 50 years ago.

Commissioners have not decided how to finance the building but have ruled out a property tax.

Other financing options include asking voters to reapportion a quarter-penny of an already existing half-penny sales tax to the courthouse project.

The sales tax is currently used for road construction.