Board finalizing financial plan for major capital improvement projects
Plan includes new courthouse, sheriff's office, Health Dept.
"The Board has come together in a bipartisan fashion to form a fiscally conservative plan to move forward with a Long Range Building Plan to address very important public safety needs," said County Board Speaker Jim Moustis. "This is a significant investment in the future of our county, as we build modern facilities and upgrade our busy roadways, and will pay dividends for a generation to come."
"Today was a great example of a true compromise and what working together can achieve," said County Executive Larry Walsh. "It was great to see county board members from both sides of the aisle working together with my staff to help advance a solid financial plan. The plan we have worked together on is a very thoughtful and fiscally responsible approach to meet a variety of county needs."
The current courthouse was built in 1969 when the county's population was 250,000; today the county has nearly 700,000 residents and is projected to grow to 1.2 million over the next 30 years. Its 23 courtrooms lack the necessary space and security and do not meet the minimum standards for safety and security as set by the Illinois Supreme Court. Will County has 35 judges, with one vacancy, who handle 80,000 cases annually.
"This plan is ten years in the making and required a lot of hard work from many people," said Majority Leader Chuck Maher (R-Naperville). "I am proud this plan does not rely on any tax increases, and we fully outlined how to pay for all of these projects before moving ahead."
"I am very excited about the progress we have made together to get these projects off the ground and set in motion an aggressive timeline for completion," added Minority Leader Herb Brooks (D-Joliet). "The residents of Will County deserve modern, safe and adequate public buildings and roadways, and this plan goes a long way to give that to them."
The new courthouse and judicial complex will house between 30 and 36 courtrooms, with a satellite courthouse in the northern portion of the county housing several more. The judicial complex will hold judges and numerous other departments including court clerk, state’s attorney, public defender, court administration, jury commission, court reporters, and the probation department.
"We thoroughly examined all revenue options and fully consulted with our financial advisors to create a solid plan to move forward with these capital projects," said Mike Fricilone, chair of the county board's finance committee. "This is a fiscally responsible plan that doesn't raise taxes, uses existing revenues and only borrows what is necessary. I look forward to moving on to the next phase of building design and breaking ground."
The Sheriff's Laraway Road campus will see new evidence storage and training buildings as well as a new administration building with space to consolidate public safety offices such as the Coroner's Office and Emergency Management services. Currently, there is a need for a central location for these functions that are now spread throughout the county.
"Approving a bipartisan plan to meet Will County’s long-term capital needs plays an important role in maintaining our status as a great place to live and do business," said Ragan Freitag (R-Wilmington), chair of the county board's capital improvement's committee. "As a local attorney and frequent user of the courthouse and public safety system, I see firsthand the importance of getting these projects underway and completed as soon as possible."