Brought together to help decide the fate of the several aging rock island county facilities, members of the newly formed ad hoc committee are fresh off of touring the courthouse. They now focus on their roles with an important referendum just a few weeks away.
The committee has its work cut out for it, but members may now have somewhat of a better idea of what they're dealing with. Many got a look at the conditions of the courthouse from the vantage point of both the people that work there and those who utilize its services.
"In both instances it strikes me as an inhumane place to send people to do either," said one committee member.
"I can't believe some of the people are working in conditions they are. I'd be throwing a fit especially if it was a family member of mine," said another.
They all agree something needs done and the referendum vote on April 9th is first item on the list. Taxpayers have to decide whether to expand the authority of the existing Public Buildings Commission. "That is going to be the funding mechanism to make this project happen and in the long run we believe it's going to save taxpayers money," said co-chair Brian Vyncke.
While educating themselves on the eight possible options on the table, which includes moving the courthouse and county administration building to the QCIC building, committee members also plan to better inform the voters on the situation with public meetings and possible tours of the deteriorating facilities.
"We're going to definitely do our best to engage the public and have an informed public by the time we go to the polls," said Kim Callaway-Thompson, ad hoc committee co-chair.
County Board Chairman Phil Banaszek says it's an issue of time is money. Whether or not the PBC is involved the ad hoc committee makes its recommendation and the full county board has the final say. "We'll bring it up before the full board and get a vote for their vote of confidence for the ad hoc committee," said Banaszek.
Voters will head to the polls April 9th. If they decide not to expand the building commission's powers, county leaders say they will find another way to move the project forward.