By Kay-Lynn Roberts-McMurray
The Ely Times
The White Pine County Commission and Ely City Council can’t see eye to eye on the transfer of the city’s portion of the land to the county so that a Community Justice Center can be constructed on the property at Great Basin Boulevard.
For several months now, the City Council has gone back and forth.
A city council meeting was held in January where Chairman of the Commission, Richard Howe, read and presented a letter to the council regarding the Community Justice Center.
He stated that White Pine County and the City of Ely are joint owners and in order for the funding to be approved, the city needs to sign over their portion of the land at the sheriff’s office on Great Basin Boulevard.
He requested the city deed its interest to the White Pine County in exchange for office and court space for the Ely City Municipal Court’s functions.
Howe also stressed that this needed to be handled before the Legislative session began in February.
Now it is March and the city has still not signed the property over to the county.
In an interview with Mayor VanCamp in February with The Ely Times, she stressed how important it was for a new justice center to be built. Mayor VanCamp said, “The building is in such tough shape that it’s not worth the money in trying to make it safe to have prisoners there and bring them in... our courthouse isn’t secure enough to have the trials and arraignments”.
In a city council meeting held last week, the agenda listed an item for discussion and action in regards to a letter sent on Feb. 9 from the county to the city.
This time Councilman Bruce Setterstrom was not willing to agree to handing over the property to the county just yet.
Without architectural plans in place. it’s difficult to ascertain all the details of courtroom, judges chambers and the support staffs square footage of office space.
And while City Attorney, Chuck Odgers was trying to express the importance of the city finalizing this deal, moving forward, Odgers said “this courthouse is needed and we should not hold up the process.”
Councilman Bruce Setterstrom said to Odgers, “You are not here to give your opinion, you’re here to give us legal advice. When did you become a county employee?”
If this agreement is not finalized soon it could be another two to five years before the county will get the opportunity to go before the legislature to request approval for funding.