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Elizabethtown attorney Benjamin Humphries wants those who oppose the relocation of county offices to tell Hardin Fiscal Court how they feel today.
Humphries plans to deliver a small presentation to Fiscal Court during its 3:30 p.m. meeting at H.B. Fife Courthouse. He has generated a petition signed by hundreds of county residents who oppose the move of the majority of Hardin County government from downtown Elizabethtown to a consolidated 60,000-square-foot facility on county-owned property adjacent to the Emergency Medical Services facility on Rineyville Road near the intersection of Ring Road.
Humphries said he hopes supporters will join him in challenging the measure and welcomes those who support the move to attend the meeting.
He circulated the petition through his office shortly after the county allocated $500,000 for design of a new facility in its current budget and said around 300 residents signed the petition as of last week.
Humphries also contacted each magistrate personally by email, urging each to champion a resolution that would cut funding for the relocation. County officials contacted by The News-Enterprise said they stand by their votes and have received little personal feedback opposing the decision.
Magistrate Garry King said he opposed an original measure to move offices around five years ago because he did not think the county was financially capable of handling the debt. He now believes the county is on solid financial footing and should make the move. The facility, estimated to cost $12 million, would be financed primarily through bonds and paid down over time.
Magistrate Bill Wiseman voted against the relocation and said he believes the county’s needs could be met downtown, but he was overruled in an 8-1 vote hiring ICON Engineering & Inspection Services, an Elizabethtown company headquartered downtown, to complete engineering and architectural services for the facility.
Humphries’ concern with the decision matches opinions of Elizabethtown city officials and several downtown business owners, who feel the move could deplete their customer base, reduce foot traffic and leave more empty buildings.
The Hardin County Attorney’s Office plans to consolidate its divisions and relocate to H.B. Fife Courthouse once county government vacates, but the majority of county government would move into the center, including the Hardin County Clerk, PVA and Sheriff’s Office.
The county plans to sell the R.R. Thomas building, which encompasses a large section of the square, once the new building is open.
Marty Finley can be reached at (270) 505-1762 or firstname.lastname@example.org.