The Early Days
Towards the beginning of this road from petition to election, we were simply letting everyone know to Vote Against Proposition A. It was the heady days before the misinformation from the Yes Aransas County PAC, the Chamber, the Long Term Recovery Team and Judge Mills. Back when it was simply the price is too much and the People wanted a vote.
For those who can remember that far back in the world of Facebook, I wrote about six problems, as I saw them, with the floor plan of a 55,424 sq ft courthouse. I thought a chance to revisit simpler things would be good for all of us. I will also be adding a seventh.
Problem One – Balconies
Besides why a courthouse would need balconies (three private and two public balconies), the two issues I presented were more based in reality – HVAC cost and security.
HVAC operation costs increase the more doors to the outside are open. I know for me growing up my Mom would yell, “We are not paying to cool (heat) the outside!” What is true for your house is true for a 55,424 sq ft building no matter how many stories it has.
The three private balconies are for the District Judge, County at Law Judge and the Aransas County Judge. Of the people who would be working in the courthouse, these three would probably receive the most threats, death or otherwise. Why would someone intentionally put these three people at risk? For all five balconies, they present entrances/exits with no security. In this light, the entire courthouse and everyone inside is compromised.
Problem Two – Commissioners Court
1,800 sq ft of this 55,424 sq ft monstrosity is devoted to the Commissioners Court. A group of five people who usually meet two times a month to conduct the People’s business.
Why not use an empty courtroom? What about the Community Building in the Celebration Plaza?
The room, I was told, could be used for other things when not being used for Commissioners Court purposes. That’s great, but the decor and furniture of the room would be for Commissioners Court – a long, large, tall “bench/dias” for the Commissioners and Judge and other desks, etc. needed, whatever decor would be appropriate to make the room echo less, chairs for the People to sit in which will, of course, be uncomfortable. Remember, all the furniture for the Commissioners except for all the chairs, would need to be hand-made and built in place.
Problem Three – County Judge’s Office
Including the private balcony, the Judge has approximately 1,000 sq ft of space for his use – not his staff, not his secretary, his own use. This is larger than the living space of quite a few people in the county.
The bath/shower/changing room is approximately 175 sq ft. For one person? Most master bathrooms (if there is one) are not this large.
The County Judge may be the CEO of the County, but he is not the CEO of a multi-billion dollar company or the President of the United States.
Problem Four – County Auditor’s Office
The County Auditor fills an important position in the County Government but the Auditor needs two offices and the Internal Auditor needs two offices?
Problem Five – County Treasurer’s Office
The Treasurer also performs an important function within County Government, but everyone needs a title and an office?
There are offices for the County Treasurer, Chief Deputy County Treasurer, Deputy Chief Treasurer and Assistant Treasurer. Where is the office for the Assistant to the Deputy Chief Deputy Treasurer? Not everyone needs an office or a title.
Problem Six – The Clock Tower
Really? Is this 1879 or 2020? While something does need to go in the big, empty space on the outside on the elevator shaft, a huge clock is a bad idea.
The clock would require maintenance, electricity, cleaning of the face, proper weatherproofing because of the salt air and someone who can change the time every time someone “important” thinks it is off.
I strongly recommend a large Aransas County Seal but used in its place.
Problem Seven – Cost Estimating
There are many who think an estimate is a real cost. There are also many who think they can estimate something and be accurate when they are not subject matter experts in any part of the construction field.
As has been revealed recently, the original estimated cost to the taxpayer for a new courthouse was $6,000,000. For the Bond Proposition, we are asked to cover over $17,000,000 in costs to construct this temple to bureaucracy. This $17+ million is just an estimate. The cost will continue to rise and we will be stuck with the bill
Has anything really changed from the beginning of this adventure up until the start of voting on November 3, 2020? Not really. We here at ACVC have only wanted to find the referenced truth and provide it to the EveryDay Citizens in Aransas County.