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  1. #1
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    New Polk County Courthouse

    Why isn't this getting more attention? I will tell you why. Lawyers and judges do not want word of this vote getting out. If it gets out people will vote no because they are all sick of all the taxes we pay. If the public knew about this there would be a lot of people voting. The less voters, the more of a chance of this voting passing. I am sick of these random vote dates. All votes should happen at the same time, this would also save tax payer $'s.

    Once again this is not about the $ amount involved but the principle of the whole thing. Why is it that homeowners have to foot the bill. How about a fee tacked on to fines that come through the courthouse? If this were to happen it would be a use tax. Most of us are law abiding homeowners and would not need the courthouse.

    Vote NO! No more taxes!

    Voters To Make $132 Million Decision Tuesday - Des Moines News Story - KCCI Des Moines



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    Re: New Polk County Courthouse

    yup, doesn't affect you unless you are a lawyer or plan on committing a crime soon, no more taxes please!


    ISU ROCKS!!!!

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    Re: New Polk County Courthouse

    i'm "darn" tired that the answers to the govts problems is to raise property taxes. Why am I being punished for owning a house? Why doesnt everyone have to pay?

    What about the losers that are in the court house for a reason? Why not double the fine for every ticket/arrest. It obviously doesnt get through to most people since most people there are repeat offenders, so why not try to get a ton of cash from em.


    #BEATIOWA

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    Re: New Polk County Courthouse

    As a conservative I am very leary of supporting anything from Polk County. The history fo management is not good.

    However, each item needs to be evaluated based on its merits. There are strong arguments for approval of the courthouse proposal. They have revised the plans several times to lower the costs to the level proposed.

    I have not made up my mind on voting yes or no yet. However, I do know something needs to be done improvements.



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    Re: New Polk County Courthouse

    There may be a debate to be had about how to fund this stuff, but it definitely needs it.
    Home Page
    Quote Originally Posted by Above Website
    Polk County’s Courthouse is overcrowded, unsafe, and without adequate security. Built more than 100 years ago to house 4 courtrooms, the building now has 27 courtrooms jammed into every nook and cranny. Just as the population of Polk County has grown over the last 100 years (a 500% increase) so has our judicial system, yet the courthouse, our community building for justice, has not kept up. More than 140,000 cases were filed at the courthouse last year, including more than 15,000 criminal cases. One hundred ninety-two jury trials were held at the courthouse in 2007, the most of any courthouse in the state. All of this activity occurs in a building not in compliance with the modern fire code, where inmates mix with the public, judges and jurors, where mold permeates the cooling system, and where more persons were arrested than any other place in the county.

    Here's the fact sheet from the same website:
    OVERCROWDING


    COURTHOUSE MORE THAN 100-YEARS OLD.
    • Erected 108 years ago.
    • Dedicated October 1906.

    500%+ INCREASE IN POLK COUNTY POPULATION SINCE COURTHOUSE BUILT.
    • Polk County population 1900 - 82,000; population 2008 - 410,000.

    BUILT FOR ONLY 4 COURTROOMS - NOW HAS 27 COURTROOMS.
    • Courtrooms now jammed into all available space, including closets;
    3 judges work without courtrooms.
    • 6 magistrate judges hold court in the leased space in the River Point Office Building conducting Small Claims, Traffic Court, Simple Misdemeanors, and Mental Health Commitments.

    THE BUSIEST COURTHOUSE IN THE STATE OF IOWA.
    • 192 jury trials were held at the 100-year old Courthouse built for 4 courtrooms in 2007; more than any other county in the state by a wide margin. The most active courthouses: Scott, Linn, Black Hawk, Story and Pottawattamie, all operate in “modern courthouses.”

    MORE THAN 2,000 PEOPLE ON AVERAGE ENTER THE COURTHOUSE EVERY DAY.
    • On an annual basis nearly 1/2 million people enter the Polk County Courthouse - all essentially through one door on the south causing long lines and delays.

    THE NUMBER OF CASES FILED HAS NEARLY DOUBLED IN THE LAST 15 YEARS.

    • Conservative projections show filings will double again in the next 22 years.

    CASE FILINGS AT THE POLK COUNTY COURTHOUSE HAVE INCREASED SUBSTANTIALLY OVER THE PAST 100 YEARS.

    • In the last 5 years alone there’s been nearly a 25% increase in case filings.
    In 2007 more than 150,000 cases were filed. Substantial increases have occurred in domestic and juvenile case filings.

    NO MEETING ROOMS WHATSOEVER EXIST AT THE COURTHOUSE FOR WITNESSES, LITIGANTS, LAW ENFORCEMENT OR ATTORNEYS.

    • All such meetings and conferences take place in the hallways outside the courtrooms.

    ONLY 1 ROOM FOR JURY ORIENTATION AND ASSEMBLY EXISTS.

    • More than 7,511 persons were called in 2007 to serve on jury duty.

    RESTROOMS AND FIXTURES ORIGINAL TO THE 100-YEAR OLDBUILDING REMAIN AND THERE ARE ONLY 6 TOTAL NUMBER OF RESTROOMS IN THE ENTIRE BUILDING.

    • Of the 6 restrooms, only 2 are ADA accessible.

    NO DISABILITY ACCOMMODATIONS EXIST AT THE MAIN ENTRANCE.

    MORE THAN 5 YEARS AGO, FACED WITH SPACE SHORTAGES AND SURPLUS OF RATS, THE BASEMENT OF THE COURTHOUSE WAS ABANDONED IN FAVOR OF RENTED SPACE.


    SECURITY

    HIGHEST NUMBER OF ARRESTS ANYWHERE IN POLK COUNTY OCCUR AT THE COURTHOUSE.

    • In 2007 more than 2,125 persons were arrested at the Polk County Courthouse.
    • In January of 2008 alone more than 295 people were taken into custody at the Courthouse.

    CONSIDERABLE CONTRABAND IS REGULARLY CONFISCATED AT THE COURTHOUSE - IN 2007 MORE THAN 700 KNIVES AND 253 BOX CUTTERS WERE TAKEN, ALONG WITH OTHER CONTRABAND.

    NO SECURITY CAMERAS EXIST THROUGHOUT THE COURTHOUSE.

    • Only a limited number exist in the hallways on the first floor.

    NO BAILIFFS OR LAW ENFORCEMENT ARE IN ANY OF THE 27 COURTROOMS.

    • The duties fall to Court Attendants who also serve as schedulers, secretaries, and judicial assistants.

    IN 2007 DEPUTY SHERIFFS RECEIVED MORE THAN 562 CALLS FOR ASSISTANCE IN THE COURTHOUSE.

    • Including 419 cases for assistance within the courtrooms/office at the Courthouse.

    • 9 judicial threats were recorded.


    PRISONERS, JUDGES, JURORS, ATTORNEYS, AND THE PUBLIC ALL USE THE SAME CORRIDORS AT THE COURTHOUSE.

    • This puts all parties at risk due to the stress and emotions that are associated with legal proceedings.

    • Modern courthouses are built in zones that separate for security purposes judges, jurors, and the public from prisoners.

    VICTIMS AND CRIMINAL DEFENDANTS ARE FORCED TO SHARE THE SAME SPACE AT THE COURTHOUSE.

    NO TEMPORARY JAIL OR HOLDING CELL EXISTS AT THE COURTHOUSE.


    SAFETY

    BUILDING IS NOT IN COMPLIANCE WITH FIRE CODE.

    • No sprinkler system.
    • No fire detection and notification system.
    • No dedicated fire stairwells.
    • No smoke evacuation system.

    EMERGENCY LIGHTING NOT IN COMPLIANCE WITH CODE.

    • Inadequate emergency power.

    VENTILATION SYSTEM OUTDATED AND NOT IN COMPLIANCE WITH CODE.

    • Mold problems permeate the building.


    RODENT AND COCKROACH INFESTATION WELL-DOCUMENTED.

    • Infestation such that basement had to be abandoned.


    Seneca Wallace.

  6. #6
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    Re: New Polk County Courthouse

    IN the DMR yesterday there was a article that stated that over the next 20 years the county will pay $100 million for renting the space it currently has. Why isn't that cost savings factored into this?

    The answer is so they can still spend that $100 million on something else over the next 20 years.



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    Re: New Polk County Courthouse

    Quote Originally Posted by cytech View Post
    IN the DMR yesterday there was a article that stated that over the next 20 years the county will pay $100 million for renting the space it currently has. Why isn't that cost savings factored into this?

    The answer is so they can still spend that $100 million on something else over the next 20 years.

    DING DING DING!!!!!!! The government at all levels always has it hands out wanting more and it has to stop.



  8. #8
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    Re: New Polk County Courthouse

    The problem I have with the new courthouse is what they are proposing is the same size as the Las Vegas courthouse - a county roughly 10 times the size of Polk county with a much higher crime rate. If the proposal was more reasonable I wouldn't have that much of a problem with it.



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    Re: New Polk County Courthouse

    Quote Originally Posted by cytech View Post
    IN the DMR yesterday there was a article that stated that over the next 20 years the county will pay $100 million for renting the space it currently has. Why isn't that cost savings factored into this?

    The answer is so they can still spend that $100 million on something else over the next 20 years.
    ------------------------------
    That is not correct. It is not a matter of spending the $100 million on something else. The artcle stated what they would spend in rent if they did not do it,

    Also one source of funding is general fundng,the other is bonding Different budgets, costs, impact and limitations on expenditures.



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    Re: New Polk County Courthouse

    Having served on a jury trial in 2007, this courthouse is a dump. But is a very cool building, it is just run down.

    That being said, you probably all know how I feel about yet ANOTHER tax increase. No wonder why people move out of Iowa, we are in the top10 in taxes, and the bottom 10 in weather.


    They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety. - Benjamin Franklin 1775

  11. #11
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    Re: New Polk County Courthouse

    Quote Originally Posted by CyAggie View Post
    ------------------------------
    That is not correct. It is not a matter of spending the $100 million on something else. The artcle stated what they would spend in rent if they did not do it,

    Also one source of funding is general fundng,the other is bonding Different budgets, costs, impact and limitations on expenditures.
    Yes but it did say that if they continue to rent the locations they do now. So if no court house is built they will spend that $100 million on rent.
    If the court house is built there will be alot of savings because the new courthouse will be funded by new taxes. It is not like they are going to refund that money back to tax payers.

    Which means that if it does get approved it will cost tax payers 232 million over 20 years not 132.



  12. #12
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    Re: New Polk County Courthouse

    Not taking a side but you do realize they pay a huge amount to lease space from other places correct? I don't know the exact numbers but it pays for a big portion of the renovations.



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    Re: New Polk County Courthouse

    Last week=So with the 1% sales tax increase we are all going to see lower property taxes.

    This week=Property taxes are going to go up because of the new courthouse

    Next Year=Property taxes are again going to raise to help out the Polk county schools because they are now getting less than before from the local 1% option

    You asked for it.



  14. #14
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    Re: New Polk County Courthouse

    Well, until people start to pack up and move out of County they'll continue to tax the **** out of you. Personally we plan to move to a small town when our kids start elementary school-both because Ankeny is getting too big for our taste and taxes are only going to go up.

    Combine the new SILO law (which has a negative fiscal impact on large Counties) with Ankeny's current inability to fully staff its schools and you have a receipe for continued, significant tax increases for several years to come on property taxes.



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    Re: New Polk County Courthouse

    Just vote no, it's just another tax increase.



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