Bartholomew County considers early payoff for court service building

Bartholomew County officials are making plans to save nearly three quarters of a million dollars in interest payments on the new court services building behind the Bartholomew County Jail.

The $3.6 million project was part of a land swap between the city of Columbus and Bartholomew County governments. The goal was to clear the large parking space between Second and Third streets so the city could facilitate a new hotel conference center on that property.

In exchange for the county giving up the parking lot and old court services building, the city agreed to pay the first $1.5 million to construct the new court services building. The city, through the redevelopment commission, also agreed to finance the rest of the cost over 15 years at a 3 percent interest rate. But Bartholomew County would then make those payments through a lease-purchase arrangement.

County Commissioners asked the County Council last night to consider paying that remaining balance in cash, saving the county more than $700,000 in interest payments over the life of the financing. Council members sounded positive about a plan to save the taxpayer’s money in the long-term.

The request was not on the council’s agenda for action, so the council members asked the commissioners to come back with more details and a proposal in the upcoming weeks.