Please vote ‘No’ on Nov. 7

Published 10:04 am Friday, November 3, 2017

To the Editor:

We need to renovate our historic courthouse, not because of its historical significance, but to preserve Courtland, the many businesses in town and their revenue to the county. The traffic in town helps keep these businesses going. Why not set up a discussion with the judges, architects and local citizens to see what is a need and what is a want.

From all I’ve read, it seems the judges are mainly interested in security and safety. The problems with mold, old HVAC system, possible flooding and water seeping inside can all be addressed and solved.  We can’t afford a new courthouse on wetlands that will cost $487,000 to mitigate on just the small acreage in the middle of the tract. We can’t afford to burden our citizens with increased taxes — enough to pay the $26.5 million, which is just the beginning of the costs involved for a new courthouse.

The minutes from the Courthouse Committee in February 2017 quoted the architect’s report as diligently working to present $22.3 million for the renovation and $27.8 million for new construction.  That is quite a spread between the two figures.

Our farmland in the county is now in land use and hopefully will remain so. If that option were removed, many citizens — especially senior citizens on fixed income — would be forced to sell for houses, solar farms or other uses.

Agriculture is the number one industry in Southampton and numbers of our young people have remained in the county to farm. They have married, have children who attend our schools, and the family pays taxes and shops in the county and Franklin.

However, most of these young farmers do not own the land they farm — they rent it from others. Doing away with land use would affect their ability to farm if the land was sold or made unavailable. If they were to leave our rural countryside, what a predicament we would be in.

Lynda Updike