All three Board of Osage County Commissioners know it is important they find a way to re-furbish the current or get a new courthouse in Pawhuska. District Two Commissioner Kevin Paslay wants to see an annex built in Skiatook so that his constituents in the southern part of the county won't have to drive to Pawhuska to pay for minor traffic violations and the like. He said maintenance and utilities costs are $130,000 annually for the courthouse, district attorney's office and others. Paslay says there is no reason they can't combine all of these offices into one. Paslay said the time to vote on this measure is now and he believes it could be on a ballot in late June.
Paslay acknowledged that he didn't want to tear the current courthouse down. He suggested it could be used as a museum and welcomed input from others at the meeting as well. Paslay added that he is handing out a petition for those showing interest in the new courthouse and annex in Skiatook.
District One Commissioner Randall Jones and District Three Commissioner Darren McKinney were both concerned about how they would go about funding the project, especially if it were to come out of the health department's budget like Paslay mentioned.
Residents of Osage County have voted on the idea of getting a new courthouse down three times. Jones said he believes there are more pressing issues that they can use with the money and this is one reason he believes it would fail a fourth time.
McKinney agreed that there were other things the county needed to work on at the time, but Paslay concluded by saying this is the right time to vote on the measure.
The commissioners will consider forming a committee next week to conduct town halls to gauge the interest of the residents for this proposal.