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Another court-building process worth watching
At the same time that Fredericksburg City Council members were trying to understand each other’s "rhetorical questions" last night, Portsmouth’s City Council took a step of defiance in a legal process the city is now involved in with its Circuit Court judges over its own court facilities.
According to the Virginian-Pilot, Portsmouth’s City Council last night approved a measure that advances a cheaper courtbuilding plan than the one the judges want built. Like Fredericksburg, Portsmouth is worried about the impact that an expensive court-building project will have on its taxpayers.
Reporter Janie Bryant lays out the situation like this:
Last year, the city approved a plan to build a new $45 million courthouse across the street from the current facility. At the council’s request for a cheaper alternative, the city manager came up with the proposal to renovate the Port Centre building instead.
After seeing the Port Centre plan, the judges filed legal action seeking to force the city to provide a safe and suitable courthouse.
Portsmouth is one of the five localities City Attorney Kathleen Dooley brought up last night as examples of places where local governments have been ordered to build new court facilities. In none of these examples did the process turn out in the local governments’ favor. I’m looking at Portsmouth and other examples for an upcoming story. According to the Pilot’s story, Portsmouth’s legal battle over the courts continues with a pretrial conference today.