By REID HEARD
The Forsyth County government is saying the recently opened courthouse is long overdue, but the project has been divisive for the community since it was first proposed 15 years ago.
The Forsyth County courthouse building, which has been in use since 1978, is not old by most standards. The Forsyth County Board of Commissioners began vying for a new facility in 2000, after only 22 years of activity. The commissioners cited Forsyth County’s rapid population increase as a primary factor to necessitate the new facilities.
After eleven years, the county finally approved the 100 million dollar project, which included a much-needed update to the county jail.
“We’re on time and under budget … I’ve heard talk that we’re millions over,” said Pete Amos, chairman, Forsyth County Board of Commissioners. “Don’t believe the blogs. We’re not millions over, we’re under budget.”
The project is being funded by a special-purpose local-option sales tax, or SPLOST, which adds one cent to the existing local sales tax. The tax was put up for a public referendum to leave the final decision to the taxpayers. Not everyone is as pleased with the process as chairman Amos.
“The county has actually voted on this four times from 2001 to 2011 and each time it was voted down,” said Caleb Newsome, a Taxpayer.
The Forsyth County government claims the complaints have not fallen on deaf ears. However, commissioners insist the need was undeniable.
The new courthouse ribbon cutting ceremony was held and since then it has been put to heavy use.