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New Griggs County Courthouse: "It's about Voter's Rights..." - Valley News Live - KVLY/KXJB - Fargo/Grand Forks

New Griggs County Courthouse: "It's about Voter's Rights..."

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  Recall petitions are now being circulated to throw 5 Griggs County Commissioners out of office.  That after voters said no to new, courthouse in Cooperstown 3 times. But, Commissioners decided to go ahead with the project anyway.

John Wakefield, Recall Organizer: "They're not kings. We're supposed to be able to voice our opinion with our vote and then, the elected officials should follow through and carry out those decisions."

  Despite voters saying no, Commission Chairman, Ron Halvorson says there are several reasons the board moving ahead with plans to tear down this 130-year old courthouse and build a new one next door.

   Halvorson says the current building has a lot of structural problems, including a leaky roof, handicapped access issues and a mold problem that's making employees sick.

  Halvorson says the 3.7-million dollar project won't require any new taxes, because the federal government will contribute one-million dollars to the project. He says they didn't want to lose that "free" federal grant  money.

Ron Halvorson, Commissioner: "We figured if we went to a no vote on that well… there would be a good chance of losing the million dollars that we have for sure."

John Wakefield, Recall Organizer:  "All this could work very easily. We're not against building a courthouse. We're not for building it. Neither way. What we're for is letting the people decide what has to be done."

  And Wakefield says the recall petitions now being circulated will accomplish that goal. He says even if they do not get the required signatures of 25-percent of the voters on their petitions for a recall election, it simply means that voters now approve the new courthouse.

  Commissioner Ron Halvorson says he has not been receiving any calls from people complaining about their decision.  He says a public meeting will be held Tuesday night at the Cooperstown school at 6 p.m.. Halvorson says they'll answer any questions the public may have about the project and their decision to move forward with it.

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