But inside of this context there is a very curious line item: The Howard County Courthouse. It's the Rodney Dangerfield of County priorities. For perfectly understandable reasons, too. There is no political gravity here, which may explain why this can goes so far when kicked.
As recently as 2012, a $9 million renovation was planned for the Courthouse, but this was scrapped after officials determined that the Ascend One building would not be a suitable temporary location due to security concerns. Notably, this was after approximately $1.5 million had been spent on preparing the building for the move.
The next year, Ken Ulman plotted out $31.6 million over four years, starting in the FY14 Capital Budget, to upgrade and renovate the existing courthouse.
In 2014, Ken Ulman's FY15 Capital Budget included $3 million for expansion of the Howard County Courthouse.
And now, in 2015, County Executive Kittleman's FY15 Capital Budget includes....(drum-roll please)...
...$300,000 on a new feasibility study for a planned expansion of the county's circuit courthouse. He said the cost of renovating the existing courthouse was close to the cost to build an entirely new courthouse and he would like to examine other options, such as a relocation of the court."Feasibility study" is the way your government tells you they are going back to the drawing board.
I don't blame Executive Kittleman for taking this approach. This problem has now crossed into its third administration and there is no reason for him to be stuck with a plan he disagrees with. Nevertheless, this needs to get done. Our judges are citing security concerns and our lawyers are embarrassed by the tree-house of a structure we offer to the state for resolution of local disputes.
But the next time you start using your imagination on things included in a Capital Budget, think of the Courthouse.
That's all for today. Have a great Tuesday doing what you love!