Corsicana Daily Sun, Corsicana, Texas

Latest News

July 9, 2013

Courthouse project to go to voters

Corsicana — Navarro County Commissioners made it official Monday — the public will have the final say on the proposed courthouse restoration.

Commissioners voted Monday to abandon the Certificate of Obligation method of funding its share of the proposed restoration, and instead call a general bond election in November to allow the public to decide on issuing the debt.

The Texas Historical Commission is providing a grant to pay for about $4.4 million of the project, plus a previous planning grant of $500,000. The total project has been estimated by the county’s architect at $10.8 million, but County Judge H.M. Davenport Jr. said Friday that number could change as final details of an annex and temporary courthouse location are worked out.

Davenport said in an interview Friday the change from a certificate to a general bond was the result of advice from the bond attorney the county is working with on the project, and to give the voters a chance to weigh in on the debt issue.

Under a Certificate of Obligation voters would have had to submit a petition with valid signatures from 5 percent of the county’s registered voters to have an opportunity to vote. Now, with the county opting to issue general obligation bonds, voter approval is mandated.

Commissioners did not call for the election on Monday — that's an action state law says can't be taken until after Aug. 7, Davenport said.

The vote to call for a general bond election must be at a regularly scheduled meeting of the commissioners court. The first opportunity to call the election would be at the Aug. 12 meeting.

The last day to call for a bond election for the November ballot is Aug. 26, also a regularly scheduled commissioners meeting date.

Prior to announcing its decision to make the change in funding sources, two people spoke out during the public comments portion of the meeting.

Pct. 1 Justice of the Peace Vicki Gray thanked commissioners for their decision, which gives the public the power to decide the bond, but said she was opposed to the proposed restoration.

“I love this courthouse, I’ve worked in it for years,” she said, adding that it is in need of repairs. But, she said, a restoration involves “nearly $8 million of the people’s money.”

She said the Texas Historical Commission’s requirements for the work further complicate the issue.

“I can’t see us ‘going backward’ in space,” she added.

“This building, I never want to see it torn down, but maybe we could give it to the Historical Society and let them use it for a museum, or maybe remodel it ... but without the restrictions of the Historical Commission,” she said.

She said other county officials she’s talked to that have gone through the restoration process have cautioned “be prepared to add 30 percent on top of what they say” when estimating the costs involved in an historic restoration.

Ronnie Willis also thanked commissioners for making the decision a public vote.

“After watching what happened with the (CISD bond election) it looked like it was a mandate to me that the taxpayers need a very clear understanding of how tax money is being spent,” he said.

He called changing to a bond election “a very smart move,” adding the commissioners should consider both a restoration and a renovation be placed before voters.

Willis said he would like to see a group of business leaders and all the taxing entities meet and discuss plans for future bonds proposals.

Eric Meyers Jr. of Oil City Iron Works also endorsed the move to a public vote.

“I think the public should have an option to say whether or not we spend the money,” Meyers said. “More education of the public is a great thing. Thank you for giving us that option.”

Commissioners also Monday named Phoenix Restoration and Construction of Farmers Branch as the intended construction firm for the proposed restoration. Davenport said the company has verbally agreed to honor its previously submitted proposal of $8.68 million for the restoration until Dec. 1, well after a November bond election.

Text Only
Latest News
  • TAMU.jpg Aggie Muster taking place Monday at Cook Center

    Former students of Texas A&M University will assemble in Corsicana on Monday, April 21, for the annual Texas Aggie Muster to honor all Texas Aggies who have passed away within the last year.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • CISD Trustees to meet Monday

    The Corsicana Independent School District Board of Trustees will meet in a regular session at 6 p.m. Monday at the administration building, 601 N. 13th St.

    April 19, 2014

  • Cancer Center Relay 1 Relay for Life fundraiser hits home as O'Neills offer drawing for weekend at guesthouse in Kemah

    Ten bucks. What will it get you these days? Maybe lunch. An eighth of a tank of gas. A pound of bacon. What about a beautiful weekend trip near the Texas coast? While helping an incredible local cause? You bet.

    April 18, 2014 3 Photos

  • Friday morning fire damages home

    A home in the 1700 block of West Ninth Avenue in Corsicana was damaged by an early morning fire Friday.

    April 18, 2014

  • 4-20 West Jump 1.jpg West honors 15 killed in year-ago explosion

    Rev. Terry McElrath heard the deafening boom. The pastor spun around and saw a column of smoke billowing into the sky above his small Texas town. He immediately thought, "Somebody has died tonight."

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • 4-18-14 Campbell Award.jpg Campbell named ‘Texas Aviator of the Year’

    It was quite an honor for Corsicana's “Dr. Dave.” The longtime Corsicana physician, and namesake of C. David Campbell Field at the Corsicana airport was named 2014 Texas Aviator of the Year by the Texas Department of Transportation.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • 4-18-14 Hop 1.jpg Kids at Hop Downtown offer insights into holiday

    The Hop Downtown, sponsored by the Main Street Office and local businesses, was colorful, loud and joyous, with Easter Bunny photos, free eggs, cookies, a bounce house and face painting Thursday afternoon in downtown Corsicana.

    April 17, 2014 3 Photos

  • 4-18-14 Wesley UMC.jpg Two churches set to close

    Two local United Methodist churches are going through the early stages of closing their doors.
    Barry United Methodist Church and Wesley United Methodist Church in north Corsicana are both ending their ministries, according to their respective pastors.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • 4-18-14 NavarroRegional.jpg Baker named hospital ‘Employee of Year’

    Navarro Regional Hospital has named Sandy Baker as 2013 Employee of the Year. This award is the highest honor bestowed on a hospital employee each year. Baker was chosen from among 327 fellow employees for the honor.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Church News for Friday, April 18, 2014

    News and announcements submitted by congregations throughout Navarro County.

    April 17, 2014