Sheriff Disagrees with Courthouse Renovation Project 

Plans to renovate and expand the Washington County courthouse are raising concerns for the local sheriff.Part of the project would update the 1855 building by adding security and making it more handicapped accessible.The other part would build an addition, basically doubling the courthouse size. County Manager Betsy Fitzgerald says it’s an $8.5 million project that would be paid for through a statewide bond expected to be voted on next month.But Sheriff Donnie Smith says it’s a waste of space and money, since there aren’t enough judges to handle the current court cases.He says there are twenty-five inmates waiting for their cases to move forward.Smith feels the money could be better spent dealing with mental health issues for those in the criminal system. County commissioners and other county leaders are working with an architect on a design for the courthouse.Fitzgerald expects it will take about two years to complete.