Reaction & Controversy Following Griggs County Recall Election - Valley News Live - KVLY/KXJB - Fargo/Grand Forks

Reaction & Controversy Following Griggs County Recall Election

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  In an historic vote at Cooperstown, Griggs County residents voted its entire, five-member, County Commission out of office in a recall election on Tuesday. But, this may not end the long running controversy over its historic courthouse, and the decision to build a new one.

  Despite voters saying no, three times, now ousted Griggs County Commissioners decided it would be too expensive to remodel their historic courthouse, so they went ahead and ok' d the building of this new, 3.5-million dollar one.  Plus, Commissioners said they would have lost a free, 1-million dollar grant if they didn't build new.

    Commissioner Ron Halvorson is one of those thrown out of office. He says it's a bit of a slap in the face. But he says over time, he believes that folks will realize commissioners made the right decision.

Ron Halvorson, Ousted Griggs Co. Commissioner: "Hopefully, a year or two fro now they'll realize, when their taxes are lower on residential and little bit on the farming part next year, they'll realize we didn't raise the taxes to build the courthouse. It's all in our budget. We have a zero budget and we're pretty proud of that."

  However, newly elected Commissioner, John Wakefield says, they'll be asking attorneys whether they're actually legally bound to finish building the new courthouse.

  Wakefield says they'll be weighing all their options and asking Griggs County residents how to proceed.

Reporter: "Do you foresee challenging whether you even want to use the new courthouse?"

John Wakefield, Newly Elected Commissioner: "No, I foresee… you're not going to get me in a box here. I foresee whatever happens moving forward, from my perspective, carrying out the wishes of the people that put me in office." 

  No direct answers from the new commissioner yet, while the ousted commissioners say, they'd make the same decision today.

  The newly elected County Commission is expected to take office on Monday, after Tuesday's vote is checked and ruled official.

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