County outlook: What could happen when City leaves courthouse

Published 9:05 am Thursday, May 9, 2024

BROOKHAVEN — Former District 4 Supervisor Eddie Brown brought up the City wanting to move out of the Lincoln County Courthouse in a board meeting in October 2023. His suggestion was for the County to plan ahead for when the City leaves. 

May is now here and appraisal valuations for the Lincoln County Courthouse have come in for both the city and county. Negotiations for a buyout are underway following a motion entered at a Supervisors meeting Monday. 

Brookhaven started the latest talks of moving out of the courthouse in May 2023. In February, the City discussed further the options to buy the old Harrigill Funeral Home or the former Kees Motor Company in downtown Brookhaven. No decision has been made as to which location the City would move to. 

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Money matters

Lincoln County Administrator Daniel Calcote said when the City leaves it could have one minor impact on the finances with the courthouse. Right now, the City of Brookhaven pays 20 percent of the utility bill since they have 20 percent ownership in the building. Once the city leaves, the 20 percent would be picked up by the County more than likely. 

“It would just be 20 percent so it won’t be much and shouldn’t be an issue,” Calcote said. 

In the past, Calcote has worked to squirrel away surplus money for the County to use when they need it. Falvey praised him for putting money aside for the Courthouse HVAC project. 

What about city court

Brookhaven’s municipal court is currently housed in the Lincoln County Courthouse. Calcote said the plan is for the municipal court to go with the city. He added if the court did not go there could be an option for a rental agreement. 

Filling a vacuum

Currently the City portion of the courthouse has offices for the Mayor, city clerk, public works, solid waste, a break room, municipal court and the water department. The city’s departure from the courthouse could open a void. 

The County would be able to do what they wanted with the space. Calcote said he recognizes it wouldn’t be his decision to make, but he did have an idea for filling the vacuum.

“The tax assessor’s building is old and it isn’t in the best of shape. It has gotten to a point where it is expensive to fix it. We would want to move them to the courthouse,” Calcote said. “We could then bulldoze that old building and expand the parking lot.”