Mt. Vernon Register-News


November 12, 2013

Town hall meetings winding down

MT. VERNON — Two more town hall meetings — including one this evening at the courthouse — have been scheduled by the Courthouse Renovations Committee.

Tonight's meeting, beginning at 7 p.m., will be held in Court Room A. The final town hall meeting will be held at 7 p.m. Thursday in the cafeteria at Rome Grade School in Dix.

Tonight's meeting replaces the meeting that was scheduled this past Thursday at the Rolland W. Lewis Community Building, which was cancelled due to a scheduling conflict.

The Courthouse Renovations Committee — composed of Chairman Randy Edwards, James Malone and Tommy Hayes — was appointed by Chairman Robert White to educate the public on maintenance issues associated with the courthouse and to answer questions from the public. The county is considering a countywide referendum in the March primary, asking voters to help fund renovations for the historic structure.

Edwards does not deny attendance has been sparse at best during the previous four town hall meetings conducted at various locations around the county, although he is hoping for good turnouts for the final two meetings.

"I wish we could get a bigger turnout and more people interested," Edwards said Monday. "We're getting small turnouts at there meetings, and there seems to be a misconception from some people who think we're actually doing work on the courthouse now."

Edwards said the reaction from voters on potential courthouse renovations has been mixed.

"It's kind of mixed emotion," the chairman said. "There's people that don't want to do anything. There's some that want to do something, but they don't want to pay higher taxes. The problem with the jail and the school is hanging over our heads too. We're still dealing with the jail issue and the loss of ICE prisoners. People are pretty upset about that.

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