I have read the reports from the two Gila County commissioners, and the information about the tax increase, bond issue and have decided to voice my opinions, for whatever you think they are worth.
I was in the legal support business while living in the Valley, and, in my business capacity, I have visited most of the courthouses within the state of Arizona.
Gila County Superior Court in Globe is one of the most modern, architecturally pleasant courthouses in the state.
In my opinion, it far outranks the Superior Court in downtown Phoenix, which services many, many more cases and a far greater population. The other new modern courts that I would compare to Gila County are those in Florence (three years old), Navajo and Santa Cruz counties.
I have served the Gila County Sheriff's Office and have to agree that the jail facility in Globe is overcrowded and understaffed, otherwise, I would not have served papers in two wrongful death cases, both of which cost Gila County due to a jury award and settlement.
These are my opinions about the tax increase and bond issue:
Courthouse: If a new courthouse was built in the Payson area, to serve all of northern Gila County, this would eliminate at least half the demand on the Gila County Court in Globe.
I do not support the destruction of the present Gila County buildings at the corner of Colcord and Main Street.
First, there is not enough property to supply any more parking and to be of sufficient size, the buildings would have to be multistory. I also read about the rehabilitation of Main Street and see that there is more than enough eyesore vacant property on Main Street, west of the Beeline, where the new complex could be located.
Jail Facilities: Again, with an adequately sized jail, female and juvenile facilities built in Payson, with secure access to the courthouses for transportation of the accused and/or convicted inmates, this, too, would decrease the demand for space on the jail facilities in Globe.
The supervisors and/or commissioners have asked for a 48-bed addition to Globe, and only a 48-bed facility to be built in Payson. Globe already has a 96-bed facility; build a 96-bed facility here and the total reaches the same total, with decreased costs.
I will not quote specific numbers, but since northern Gila County has over half the population of Gila County, and supplies more than half the sales and other taxes of Gila County, why aren't we getting equal representation in county facilities? Why do we here in northern Gila County have to travel to Globe for county services that could be located in northern Gila County if the spaces existed?
Jack Jumper, Payson