County accepts loan to complete courthouse remodel

Print Article

SANDPOINT — Bonner County commissioners accepted a $600,000 loan offer from Mountain West Bank Tuesday to complete remodeling at the courthouse.

With a 2.85-percent interest rate, the county will pay nearly $82,000 in interest over the life of the 10-year loan.

The loan is $200,000 higher than anticipated due to several recent change orders to improve the surveillance camera system, additional sound insulation to keep jury deliberations from being overheard, additional data wiring and a new secure reception counter for deputy county clerks.

The change orders were requested after courts and clerk staff did a walk-through of the building.

“This pushes the (re-opening) date back to mid-March,” Commission Chairman Cornel Rasor said.

A 1st District Court judge confirmed last month that outside financing and indebtedness beyond a single fiscal year was justifiable given counties are responsible for providing court facilities.

But Commissioner Mike Nielsen bristled at the timing of the change orders and questioned whether they could be deemed justifiable expenses if they were not before the court when judicial confirmation was granted.

Nielsen speculated that the additional change orders surfaced once it became clear that a court was blessing financing to complete the remodel.

“It’s like we opened the floodgates after we got this approved,” said Nielsen.

Commissioners-elect Cary Kelly and Joyce Broadsword disagreed.

“You have the latitude to interpret that (court ruling) and pass what’s necessary,” Kelly told his future colleagues on the board.

Broadsword also believes the expenses are legitimate.

“There is never a complete picture until that final walk-through,” she said.

Nielsen, however, agreed that it would less expensive to do the work before drywall and other finish work is done.

Commissioner Lewis Rich pointed out that loan interest would be a fraction of what Mountain West is charging if the county loaned itself the money.

Rasor and Nielsen are seeking an attorney general’s opinion on whether inter-fund transfers are allowable under Idaho law. They contend the law clearly prohibits the practice.

But Rich and county Clerk Marie Scott counter that such transfers are routinely done throughout the state.

“There’s 25 counties hanging in the balance on this,” said Rich.

It was also revealed Tuesday that $241,000 of district court funding appears to have been improperly applied to the remodeling effort. Idaho Code holds that district court funding cannot be used for courthouse construction or remodeling.

“The judges want repayment and it’s required by law,” said Scott Bauer, the board’s civil counsel.

Commissioners anticipated the district court fund will have to be made whole during the next budget-setting cycle.

Print Article

Read More News

Prison ordered in abuse case

April 17, 2018 at 5:00 am | Bonner County Daily Bee SANDPOINT — A Sandpoint man who pleaded guilty to repeatedly sexually abusing a minor over an extended period of time was ordered to serve up to 15 years in prison on Friday. Dustin Oneal Walden wil...

Comments

Read More

It’s never too early

April 17, 2018 at 5:00 am | Coeur d'Alene Press By DEVIN WEEKS Hagadone News Network POST FALLS — This year, Tax Day falls right in the middle of National Healthcare Decisions Day Week. "National Healthcare Decisions Day is a national mo...

Comments

Read More

Lightning Creek repairs draw near

April 17, 2018 at 5:00 am | Bonner County Daily Bee CLARK FORK — The Western Federal Lands Highway Division is prepared to award the contract to repair 2015 Lightning Creek flood damages next month, according to the U.S. Forest Service. The repair wo...

Comments

Read More

Food bank garden blooming

April 17, 2018 at 5:00 am | Bonner County Daily Bee SANDPOINT — The Bonner Community Food Bank garden will provide even more produce for local families this year. Five raised beds were installed a year ago, and through an $1,850 grant from the Cadeau...

Comments

Read More

Contact Us

(208) 263-9534
PO Box 159
Sandpoint, ID 83864

©2018 Bonner County Daily Bee Terms of Use Privacy Policy
X