Proposed Justice Center and Historic Courthouse – For the Record

Project Description

  • Build a new justice center including a courthouse and government offices. (Approximately $10 million).
  • Convert the second story of the historic courthouse to offices for our “part-time” commissioners.  First floor TBD.  Total Costs TBD.

Remonstrance Process.


Feb  29, 2020. BCD. COUNTY NEWS: … update on courthouse remodel By  –

  • Commissioner Biddle. “We have those issues that we need to address. We either address them collectively or we start addressing them individually. Either way, it would cost us more money,”  … “I don’t care how we choose to fix the problem, but there are problems that aren’t going to go away. We have to look at a solution.”
  • Commissioner Jerry Pittman asked about any other large projects that might be “looming out there” that would require a $10 million bond like this one. Biddle and council Vice President Dave Critser both mentioned bridge work. … Last August, USI Consultants presented a report stating that Brown County was looking at more than $9 million worth of bridge work that will need to be done in the next nine years.
  • Councilman Dave Critser: Critser told commissioners Biddle and Pittman to move forward. “You just need to go ahead and move forward with this project. That’s all there is to it,” he said.
  • Pittman said he was still willing to have public meetings to get input on the plans and ideas on how to address space needs, especially at the Brown County Prosecutor’s Office where employees are getting sick due to the condition of the building. … “I don’t like the idea of borrowing $10 million, obligating my children who are living in this county and grandchildren who continue to. But honestly, does anybody have a more cost-effective solution than building a new facility? I’d love to hear it,” he said.

April 4, 2019. DLZ and Umbaugh (now called Baker Tilley) provided the same presentation to a “working session” of the Commissioners and Council that was made last June to a standing room only audience. NO ACTION has been taken since last June to address citizen concerns with this project. These were captured in my Letter – “Consider other ways for project to proceed” following the meeting.

Following this meeting was a presentation of the first ever five-year financial plan by Baker Tilly.

  • “Illustrative Financing” – Options for Financing the Proposed Justice Center. This was presented “before” the presentation on the Five-Year Financial Plan.
  • County Five Year Financial Plan and Projections (2016-2021).  Taxes will need to be increased to overcome projected deficits.  The plan did not include all of the fund accounts, the health insurance account,  and most funds (exception innkeeper’s tax revenue fund and riverboat fund) were projecting more costs than revenues. Further, the report did not include a:  Capital Improvement Plan and Budget to identify:
    • Projected capital improvement expenses (roads, bridges (9 million), maintenance, repair, and replacement of existing land and buildings,
    • Proposed new 10 million dollar debt for the proposed justice center and one million (+) plan for courthouse repairs and renovations) that would have led to increases in projected deficits. The report did identify the amounts that could be generated by higher taxes.  The key assumption was no change in the tax base.
    • Proposed new coroners office (50-100k?)
    •  Indiana Trial Court Statistics by County 
    • Brown County CourtTrends 2010 – 2017 
    • Brown County Population Projects – through 2020 – 2050 – Stats Indiana Brown County Population Projections

March 12, 2019. BCD. Discussions resume on future of Brown County Courthouse by Suzanna Couch.  Brown County Matters – Facebook Post

February 20, 2019.  Commissioner Meeting.  Commissioners identify the intent to push forward on this project.  Facebook Post-  Brown County Matters. Commissioner

June 26, 2018. BCDLetter: Courthouse project should be done thoughtfully, by Roy Graham, Bloomington. I have followed the issue of expanding the justice needs by way of a new building in Brown County carefully. … The Democrat has done an excellent job of covering this. … I am unsure if the following idea has been proposed, but before spending millions of dollars, I have a simple suggestion

May 29, 2018, BCDLOOKING BACK: Constructing the first Brown County courthouse by  Pauline Hoover, Brown County Historical Society

May 2, 2018.  Consultant Presentation:  New Courthouse and Government Offices  – AKA  – Brown County 2018 05-02 DLZ Justice Center Feasibility Study

  • Note that DLZ can bid on any projects that are generated from the study.

May 15, 2018. BCD,  Agency recommendation after study: Build new justice center, by Suzannah Couch

    • May 2 presentation to commissioners and council
    • An agency hired to examine the future of the historic courthouse in Brown County has offered two suggestions to the Brown County Commissioners and Brown County Council.
    • Those are to move court offices to a new building that would be built next to the Brown County Law Enforcement Center and move some county employees into the current courthouse after it is renovated.

May 1, 2018. BCD,   COUNTY NEWS: Courthouse feasibility study presentation set; money approved for courthouse security officer


Jan 23, 2018. BCD, The people’s court: Courthouse project needs public input, firm says by Sara Clifford

  • The agency hired to study the future of Brown County court operations wants to make two things clear:
    • No. 1: The people need to drive this project, and; No. 2: Whatever it ends up being, it needs to be something taxpayers can afford.
    • “I can’t stress this enough: The solution at the end of the day can’t be that we’re going to build this huge facility that’s going to meet the community’s needs for 50-plus years, but we can’t afford it,” said DLZ principal architect Eric Ratts

Jan 6, 2018BCD, Courthouse feasibility study kickoff meeting date set . by Suzannah Couch. A group will meet to discuss the next steps in what to do about the historic Brown County Courthouse next week.

Oct 17, 2017. BCD, Another annex? New study being done on courthouse future. by Suzannah Couch. For the fourth time in eight years, a study is being done on making changes to the historic Brown County Courthouse. This time, the study also will look at building a new, separate county annex building somewhere in downtown Nashville.

  • Biddle said that Umbaugh, the county’s financial consultant, said the “ideal time” to bid out a project would be at the end of 2018, get a bond and start construction in 2019.
  • The Brown County Commissioners and Brown County Council went ahead with plans to borrow up to $8.25 million to build a 17,400-square-foot addition. But taxpayers soundly defeated that proposal with a remonstrance, and citizen committees began studying other options.

Indiana Public Media: wfiu, npr, WTIU

County Website – General Information – Including previous Courthouse Studies and Proposals:

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