Lincoln County considers future of proposed justice center

Published: Aug. 23, 2022 at 10:50 PM CDT
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CANTON, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - In Lincoln County, they need to determine how much they’re willing to spend....and when...for a justice center.

What’s currently in place is barely making do thanks to the region-leading growth the county is experiencing.

And every day a decision isn’t made is a day the crowding gets worse.

It’s the discussion local leaders dread: how much money they can spend at a time when money is tight.

“What can we do for the least amount of impact on the taxpayer and yet meet our most immediate needs.”: Lincoln County Commissioner Jim Ellis...saying what everyone else is thinking as they consider the construction of a new justice center in Canton at a time when the county is growing and growing and growing.

“The budget is stretched to the limit right now and of course, we’d have to pass some kind of a bond to make this effort go regardless of the three plans presented today.” Commissioner Jim Jibben says the choices they are down to include plans to build just south of the existing courthouse...across the street from the courthouse or a piece of land just west of Canton.

“We want to show the county what options they have. We’re looking at a couple different things for them.” Lynn Remmers with JLG Architects says the simple story at the current courthouse is that they are out of space and out of room for virtually all their services...and it’s a problem that will get worse with time. “Lincoln County is growing...you know with southern Sioux Falls, Harrisburg...those communities are growing immensely.”

That growth shows no signs of slowing down. This project doesn’t have the luxury of too much time.

Lincoln County resident Mark Noordsy tells us understand the necessity but is hoping the county opts for a special half-cent sales tax to fund the project. “That to me is a better option because it spreads the burden across people. It isn’t just the property taxpayer. It’s anybody who uses the services of Lincoln County when they’re buying goods and services.”

That sales tax idea would require legislative approval to enact.

The options under consideration range in cost from $40 million all the way up to $130 million.