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Commissioners Approve Budget, Plans for Courthouse

Forsyth County Commissioners took time out from grappling over the water contract and Local Option Sales Tax with the city to approve the county's new spending plan and plans for the new courthouse.

Forsyth County Government has its 2013 spending plan and, as expected, citizens will not see a property tax increase next year.

Commissioners adopted the $89.6 million General Fund budget at Thursday's meeting. The millage rate for the 2012 tax digest and 2013 budget was set on July 5 at 6.56 mils, including 4.812 for Maintenance and Operation, 1.975 for Fire Fund and .869 for Bond indebtedness.

A new item in the budget this year is the Public Safety Reserve of $5,014,000 which is money withdrawn from the Sheriff's Office budget at the request of outgoing Sheriff Ted Paxton.

After being defeated by former Sheriff's Office Lt. Duane Piper in last summer's Republican Primary, Paxton tossed out a challenge to Piper to live up to his campaign pledge by asking commissioners to cut the new sheriff's budget by $5.01 million. Commissioners agreed to do so, but set the money aside in the Public Safety Reserve so the new sheriff could have it put back in the budget simply by coming before them and having it approved. Piper still faces a challenger on Nov. 6 from Sheriff's Lt. Col. DT Smith, who is running as a write-in candidate.

At Thursday's meeting, the Board also approved the "town green" design proposed by the architectural firm of HOK for the new county courthouse and expanded detention center. Wakefield Beasley and Associates, which donated $500 to Commissioner Brian Tam's campaign, oversees the $100 million project.

The "town green" design will feature open green space in front of the new courthouse which will be sit back off Veterans Memorial Boulevard to give the project some visual appeal.

Wakefield Beasley spokesman Doug Shaw said, "We pulled it back to some extent in order to give some breathing room to these buildings here to be a good neighbor."

The new courthouse will be five stories tall, making it the tallest building in downtown. HOK representatives will conduct a feasibility study to determine the best area for a parking deck. In the intended design, the parking deck would have been at the front of the courthouse where the green space is now planned.

Something else, residents hadn't planned on is the possibility that moving the parking deck may require the closing of some nearby roads.

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Forsyth Early Voting Information Here

resident October 24, 2012 at 02:12 PM
Don't we need an new Jail before a Courthouse? Why are we not renovating what's existing instead of spending 100M on a new project? I would be interested in hearing more information about this.
Jeff Mason October 24, 2012 at 03:26 PM
Why don't they upgrade the whole area of downtown?? It needs to be hipper with some cool restaurants, shops, etc. It's tool good old boyish and has no personality really. The Avenues and Vickery Village are good models.
Jack Gleason October 24, 2012 at 03:36 PM
What's seriously being overlooked here is that this facility should ALSO house the Sheriffs Dept. Forsyth County is looking to buy property for the building yet ANOTHER facility to house the Sheriffs Department -- another building separate and therefore protracted from what the Voters of this County were led to believe when voting its approval...and likely why there's NO "Citizen" upon that "Board" planning it's $90+ Million Dollar expense : ?
Youworkforus October 24, 2012 at 04:21 PM
We need a new jail and sheriff's office... just not in downtown Cumming... and please don't put it in my backyard. My property value has dropped enough. I agree with Mr.Mason, downtown Cumming should be upgraded to a space that people want to come and park and walk, eat and shop. Downtown Roswell and downtown Norcross are great little historic downtown examples. What is wrong with the existing couthouse?

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