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County postpones further courthouse actions

Article originally sourced from

"Spartanburg County Council on Monday voted to postpone any further decisions on whether to move 250 employees out of the mold-plagued courthouse to another location until a new judicial center is built in four years.

On Feb. 28, council agreed to relocate all courthouse functions at an estimated cost of $13 million to a yet-to-be-built warehouse at Flatwood III Industrial Park, which is owned by Johnson Development Associates.

The county has already spent an estimated $1.5 million in mold remediation costs, yet county employees have continued to complain of mold-related illnesses and of mold returning to some areas.

But on Friday, Johnson Development backed out of the deal, citing restrictions in the spending of county funds that prevent the county from entering a multi-year lease.

Monday night, Councilman Bob Walker made a motion to skip relocation altogether, and not move any functions until demolition for the new courthouse begins.

He said by staying put, the county could save taxpayers $13 million.

Councilman Whitney Farr suggested waiting two more weeks to consider all options before deciding. Council then agreed to postpone action until a special meeting on April 2.

County Administrator Katherine O’Neill said there is roughly $13 million in the budget from various sources that could be used for relocation without the need for a tax increase.

Councilman Michael Brown, who favors relocating employees, said he still hasn’t been presented with options to the Flatwood warehouse site agreed upon on Feb. 28.

Consultant Michael Thomas said previously none of the other 100-plus sites looked at came close to meeting all requirements that the Flatwood proposal did.

After the meeting, Clerk of Court Hope Blackley said many courthouse functions could be moved to different locations, and that one large location with hundreds of parking spaces isn’t necessary.

“Courts can be broken up,” she said."

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