Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Tab for Pasco justice facilities hovering at $250 million

A report by a Miami-based consultant is adding more square footage — and expense — to the county's plans for a courthouse near the Land O'Lakes jail.

The findings, discussed at a County Commission workshop Tuesday, called for a bigger courthouse than envisioned last year by Pasco officials and suggested that before commissioners build it they should expand the jail. Further upping costs, the report recommended adding administrative offices for the sheriff as well.

The total price tag for the work, including a handful of related sheriff's projects: $232 million to $261 million, with the courthouse alone coming in at roughly $110 million.

That's a huge spike from last summer when commissioners were mulling whether to spend $28 million on a courthouse with eight courtrooms and 11 judges' chambers. The higher figure includes 12 courtrooms and 14 to 15 judges' chambers, plus space for the state attorney, public defender, guardian ad litem and court clerks.

"We can't afford everything on that list," Commissioner Ted Schrader said flatly after the meeting, which looked at a range of needs in addition to the criminal justice facilities, including new and upgraded roads, storm-water drainage systems, fire stations, parks and other facilities to keep pace with growth.

Commissioners have yet to decide which projects to back and how to fund them.

"That they recommended the jail addition ahead of the court facility, that was sort of glaring for me," Schrader said.

CGL, the planning and design firm hired for $325,000, suggested that long-range the county should build a criminal justice campus with the courthouse and sheriff's offices adjacent to the jail on 200 acres already owned by the county.

Clustering the facilities together will lower costs related to moving prisoners, but short-term the county should focus on the jail expansion, CGL managing director Bruce Orenstein told commissioners.

He said that given Pasco's incarceration rate and population trends, the average number of prisoners will double to 3,000 in 20 years. In the short-term, he suggested adding capacity for 1,000 inmates, or half of what the county will eventually need.

If commissioners roll back the courthouse plan and focus on the jail, they would be looking at a $106 million to $116 million price tag.

That would likely be Sheriff Chris Nocco's advice. Nocco suggested a year ago applying the brakes on the courthouse to focus on the increasing numbers of inmates. If left unchecked, he said, the courthouse would be swamped with cases almost from the day it opened.

CGL agreed with other portions of the county's plan — namely to use the existing courthouses in Dade City and New Port Richey for probate, family court and civil cases.

Among the other numbers in CGL's report: $16 million to $20 million for new administrative offices for the sheriff and $16.4 million to renovate or replace three district sheriff offices, the forensics lab and the Sterling Building off Little Road in New Port Richey.

That the county justice facilities are being stretched to the limit wasn't lost on commissioners.

"It's not surprising to me the numbers are so eye-opening," Commissioner Kathryn Starkey said after the presentation. "The county has been run on a shoe-string for so long."

Contact Rich Shopes at rshopes@tampabay.com or (727) 869-6236. Follow @richshopes.

Tab for Pasco justice facilities hovering at $250 million 08/13/14 [Last modified: Wednesday, August 13, 2014 6:28pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. In advertising, marketing diversity needs a boost in Tampa Bay, nationally

    Business

    TAMPA — Trimeka Benjamin was focused on a career in broadcast journalism when she entered Bethune-Cookman University.

    From left, Swim Digital marketing owner Trimeka Benjamin discusses the broad lack of diversity in advertising and marketing with 22 Squared copywriter Luke Sokolewicz, University of Tampa advertising/PR professor Jennifer Whelihan, Rumbo creative director George Zwierko and Nancy Vaughn of the White Book Agency. The group recently met at The Bunker in Ybor City.
  2. Kushner to testify before two intelligence committees

    Politics

    WASHINGTON— President Donald Trump's senior adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner is set to make a second appearance on Capitol Hill — he will speak with the House Intelligence Committee on Tuesday, one day after he is scheduled to speak with Senate Intelligence Committee investigators behind closed doors.

    White House senior adviser Jared Kushner is scheduled to testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee and the House Intelligence Committee. [Associated Press]
  3. Rays blow lead in ninth, lose in 10 to Rangers (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Rays manager Kevin Cash liked the way Alex Cobb was competing Friday night. He liked the way the hard contact made by the Rangers batters went away after the second or third inning. So as the game headed toward the ninth, there was no doubt in Cash's mind that sending Cobb back to the mound was …

    Rays starter Alex Cobb can hardly believe what just happened as he leaves the game in the ninth after allowing a leadoff double then a tying two-run homer to the Rangers’ Shin-Soo Choo.
  4. Exhumation of Dalí's remains finds his mustache still intact

    World

    FIGUERES, Spain — Forensic experts in Spain have removed hair, nails and two long bones from Salvador Dalí's embalmed remains to aid a court-ordered paternity test that may enable a woman who says she is the surrealist artist's daughter to claim part of Dalí's vast estate.

    Salvador Dal? died in 1989 leaving vast estate.
  5. Sessions discussed Trump campaign-related matters with Russian ambassador, U.S. intelligence intercepts show

    Politics

    WASHINGTON — Russia's ambassador to Washington told his superiors in Moscow that he discussed campaign-related matters, including policy issues important to Moscow, with Jeff Sessions during the 2016 presidential race, contrary to public assertions by the embattled attorney general, current and former U.S. …

    Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself from the Russia investigation after meetings with an ambassador were revealed.