Criminal Courts' Move to Land O' Lakes Progressing
Pasco County Commissioners will discuss financing for a new Land O’ Lakes criminal courthouse during their Feb. 5 meeting.
Pasco County might take a baby step forward on plans to build a $28 million criminal courthouse tower in Land O’ Lakes when the commission meets Tuesday, Feb. 5.
Commissioners are being asked to approve the formation of a committee to evaluate any incoming proposals to finance the project.
During their Jan. 22 board meeting, commissioners were asked to move ahead with plans to construct a three-story criminal courts tower on the grounds of the Land O’ Lakes jail. The new building would house all criminal court activity in Pasco, effectively shutting down criminal courts in New Port Richey and Dade City.
Assistant County Administrator Heather Grimes is recommending the selection committee include Commission Chairman Ted Schrader, County Attorney Jeffrey Steinsnyder, County Administrator John Gallagher, Chief Assistant County Administrator Michele Baker, Budget Director Christopher Dorsey and Craig Dunlap of Dunlap & Associates.
The committee will strictly look at proposals from parties interested in handling financing underwriting services for the project. Requests for proposals, or RFPs, are being prepared for release by the county for both financing and the design/build portion of the project.
When news broke about the county considering the courthouse tower, Land O’ Lakes Patch readers had mixed opinions:
Tonya Bouvette: 28 million to build a building that already exists?!?!? This is money that could go toward our schools! I find this a ridiculous idea. You are going to take one of the most growing area of Pasco county, that has low crime, good schools and lots of new construction and add this to the mix. Leave it where it is!
Amber: Not to mention the extra traffic that will put on 41 - it's only 2 lanes from 52 to about 1 mile south of the jail. That area can't hold that. Why can't prisoners be via television only?
Robert Martin: This seems logical on the face of it, but sounds like it is underfunded right from the onset. Consolidating all criminal courts would be very cost efficient if done right. (What are the odds that will happen?!) With county budgets the way they are, I would like to see how they get this worked out and try to apply similar fund raising for the county wide activities and civic projects that were left savaged by the recent budget cuts. That would make for a nice balance if this can be done before we throw what will likely be double of what the proposed cost here will end up being when done. Just my opinion, but looking at the past, lack luster management of the county to date, it has the weight of history. I am not holding my breath here on this.
Other items on the commission’s agenda include:
- A resolution declaring Feb. 11-15 Severe Weather Awareness Week in Pasco County
- A speed limit revision for Wesley Chapel Boulevard
- Resolutions setting tax liens on several “slum or blighted” structures throughout the county, mostly in West Pasco
For a complete look at the agenda for Tuesday’s meeting, visit the county’s website.
The commission meeting starts at 10 a.m. at the Historic Pasco County Courthouse, 37918 Meridian Ave. in Dade City.
What do you think about the move to consolidate criminal courts in Land O' Lakes? Share your thoughts in the comments section.