YES, Move Augusta County Courthouse Part 3: Will Taxes Be Raised For a New Courthouse?

Proposed plan from Moseley Architects for new courthouse at Augusta County Government Center in Verona.

Augusta County’s historic 1901 courthouse in downtown Staunton is no longer suitable for conducting business in today’s court system on a number of levels — safety, security, space limitations, no parking, no handicap parking, limited handicap access, court buildings separated by a main city street, dwindling storage, and other issues of concern. For more background, see YES, Move the Courthouse Part 1.

A frequently asked question is, “Will the County raise taxes for a new courts complex?”

The Augusta County website notes that additional tax increases are not planned in order to fund the Courthouse in Verona. As with current school construction, projects have been planned for and budgeted accordingly without a tax increase.

The County will borrow funds to pay for the Courts Complex. Payments will be made over a period of years using funds set aside from the sale of surplus property and the 2015 real estate tax increase. A portion of future growth in real estate values will be dedicated to funding the project, until such a time the debt is fully funded.

However, if the referendum fails and the County is required to build the same $59.5 million building in Staunton, taxes may be raised. Only $45,000,000 is being budgeted for and planned.

Did you know that Virginia and U.S. law require Courts to provide safe, secure, and adequate facilities? If not provided, the Judge can direct the County to provide and the County to pay the cost. That cost could be different from the proposed $45,000,000 in Verona. It happened in neighboring Rockbridge County in 2002.

What you can do to learn more:

  • Visit the courthouse on Saturday, October 22, between 10am-2pm for a tour of the two current courthouses, the Circuit Courthouse and District Courts Building located on opposite sides of the street, to see conditions of the facilities. If moved to Verona, all three courts and court functions would be located in one building.  Courts include Circuit, General District, and Juvenile Domestic Relations.  Court functions include Clerk’s Offices, Commonwealth Attorney, Victim Witness, Court Services Unit, Magistrate, and Court Security.
  • Contact your supervisor to ask questions.
  • Visit the Augusta County website for information.
  • Visit the Augusta County Facebook page.

For more information, see also:

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