Does Hanson County really need a courthouse?

We published a story today about the groundbreaking for a new courthouse at Alexandria in Hanson County. It’s a feel-good piece about the county’s recovery from the condemnation of the previous courthouse.

Still, I can’t help but wonder if it’s a waste of money. The courthouse in Mitchell is a mere 15 miles away from the future one in Alexandria, so it seems like a chance to consolidate and streamline some government offices will be lost when the new courthouse goes up. Also, in this day and age, more and more of the services that we used to need courthouses for are going online. That alone would cause me to think long and hard about allowing my elected officials to put millions of my tax dollars into a new courthouse.

That’s not to say that the new Hanson County courthouse isn’t good news. It appears to have the support of the taxpayers over there, and I guess that’s all that really matters in the end. I just wonder if other county courthouses will be replaced as they age, or if they’ll simply vanish.

11 thoughts on “Does Hanson County really need a courthouse?

  1. The only problem is that Hanson probably does not want to consolidate anything with our draconian commissioners here.

  2. Seth, do you live in Hanson Co.?
    My county, my tax dollars. Better than paying Davison Co. taxes.

  3. Consolidating government offices to save money might sound good. But it’s a further drain on job opportunities in small communities. It increases the inconveniences every Hanson Co. resident faces each time they drive the extra 15 miles, and back, for a courthouse service. And bigger bureaucracies aren’t always more effective, cost-wise or management-wise. (But enough about that on a different post.)

    Substitute streamlined costs of healthcare if all major surgery or obstetrics or cancer care were moved to Sioux Falls.

    Does Hanson Co. need a courthouse?
    Does Hanson Co. want a courthouse?
    Can Hanson Co. afford a courthouse?
    Is Hanson Co. willing to pay for a courthouse?

  4. Pasque,
    Need? Probably not necessary.
    Want? Yes.
    Afford? Yes.
    Willing to pay? Looks as if we are more than willing.
    Currently, we are learning that big is not necessarily good. Big Gov. cost, in more ways than one.

  5. In response to pasque, sounds as though most people in Mitchell are driving to SF for healthcare.

  6. I don’t think Hanson County residents would have to drive an “extra” 15 miles to get services at the Mitchell courthouse. I’d be willing to bet that most Hanson County residents come to Mitchell on a regular basis, and could simply add a stop at the courthouse to their to-do list. I’d also be willing to bet that many trips to the courthouse will be eliminated as government services move online.

  7. If the Hanson County taxpayers want a court house in their county and can pay for it what business is it of Davison County taxpayers? Davison County taxpayers have enough to worry about.

  8. I’m surprised at the number of SD counties that do not offer services online. This is 2009!

  9. (when i lived in hanson co i went to mitchell a lot. but it was usually on the weekend or at night and the courthouse wasn’t open then. just saying.)

    I support online services, but until they cover a lot more than they do now, some things have to be done in person, and not everyone has easy access to transportation. I know elderly residents who aren’t comfortable driving in “the city” of Mitchell although they do drive to Alexandria. Moving services further away from small towns would require balancing the inconveniences against the benefits. I guess that’s what the vote was for.

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