Rock Island Courts Loan $250,000 For County Courthouse Study - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

Rock Island Courts Loan $250,000 For County Courthouse Study

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It has been one week since Rock Island County voters rejected a way to finance a new courthouse project.

Leaving county committee members in charge of studying what type of courthouse to build looking for a source of funding.

Now a source of cash has been found to get the process moving.

The chief judge and county circuit clerk agreed to loan Rock Island County $250,000 from their court automation fund.

That's funded with fees the court can use to pay for equipment, salaries; anything the court system could need.

The board approved the loan unanimously Tuesday, because the board agrees the court needs a new building.

"We all know it's a very high priority to get this study taken care of, if we can move forward on it that's going to help us do our job," says committee co-chair Brian Vyncke.

He says getting a new courthouse built is his committee's top priority.

However, after voters rejected funding the project with the public building commission, Vyncke says the county had very few options.

"One of the suggestions was seeing if we could sell some property," says Vyncke.

An option that depended on quickly finding a buyer. Allowing the committee to begin selection an independent company to study courthouse options. A study that could cost between $60 and $300,000.

"The ad hoc committee has work to do, they continue to say this can has been kicked down the road, now they're saying let's get down to business," says County Circuit Clerk Lisa Bierman.

She says the court funding makes perfect sense. The money it will loan to the county is meant to pay for any need of the court. A new building is its biggest need at the moment.

"This is very important to the courts, I'm sure that people have been in our building and they've seen that there is a huge need, there is a problem, it's important so we want to show full support of that," says Bierman.

She says the pending lawsuit from the judges kept this option from being explored before. After Chief Judge Jeff O'Connor's decision to put that lawsuit on hold, the County can get to work.

"We're looking for sometime in the fall to have an answer to hopefully have all the plans laid out so we can put this on the referendum next March," says Vyncke.

Going to voters with a specific plan next time.

The County's ad-hoc committee will begin selecting an independent company to review the County's courthouse options next month.

So far five companies have asked for the contract.

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