FRANKLIN COUNTY VOTERS WILL GET TO DECIDE, AGAIN, IF THEY WANT A NEW COURTHOUSE

Voters in Franklin County may be asked for the third time in as many years if they want a new county courthouse in Benton.

County Board Chairman Randall Crocker says he is planning to discuss with the county board next week the possibility of putting a referendum on November’s ballot regarding the 143-year-old courthouse. He wants to hold public meetings in order to get the community’s take on the courthouse and whether or not they think it needs to be replaced, renovated or leave it like it is. He also wants to know how they would like for the county to pay for a new courthouse. Referendums regarding the courthouse have failed twice – once in 2015 and again last year. Both referendums dealt with a sales tax increase to raise funds for improvements

Crocker says the courthouse problems are not going away. He was told recently that the elevator is going to have to be replaced, which could cost the county thousands of dollars and some of the courthouse roof is coming off.

Crocker says if the county board decides to go ahead with the referendum, it is his understanding that everything will need to be in place by August so it will be on the ballot in November.