Assistant Windsor County Judges David Singer and Jack Anderson are proud of their courthouse. In many ways, the building, which was finished in 1855 and sits on the town green, is almost like a museum. Original benches and fixtures remain.
"It's the most prominent public building here in Woodstock. It is a gorgeous piece of history," Anderson said.
But the courthouse, which handles civil cases, needs a lot of work. None of the bathrooms are handicapped accessible, neither is the rest of the building for that matter. There is only one entrance, so if the door gets blocked, the emergency exit is out a second-floor window. It also lacks proper security.
"We need handicapped accessibility, life safety, security, air conditioning and also we need to make some upgrades to the building that will improve its efficiency," Anderson said.
Work will begin this fall if Windsor County voters approve a $2 million bond. Half the money will be used to build an addition off the back which will include an elevator.
"And I think it is important for our fellow Vermonters that this building stays available," Singer said.
Homeowners with a $200,000 house would see a $5 increase on their tax bill every year for the next 10 years.
"It's essentially a play on words; you bond with your neighbors. You may not need it; you may think you can't afford the $5. And you know for some people $5 is a lot of money," Singer said.
But Singer says in the long run, it's worth it. The plans also include a holding cell, so criminal trials can take place here, an addition they say will speed up the judicial process.
"We only have one criminal courtroom in the entire county-- one. And so when people wonder how long it takes my cousin, who has been in jail for three months, it's because we don't have the space," Singer said.
"This building belongs to the property owners and taxpayers of Windsor County. It serves the people of Windsor County and we are asking every one of the property owners in the county to share a little bit," Anderson said.
A larger renovation project was rejected by voters in the late 1990s. However, backers of this scaled-down version say it achieves the same goal, keeping the building viable for another 100 years.
Both of the assistant judges will be traveling the county making their pitch to voters from now until Town Meeting Day which is March 5.
Sunday, May 19 2013 12:06 AM EDT2013-05-19 04:06:03 GMT
Vermont State Police have charged 22-year-old Adam Page of Newport for stealing the Newport City Elementary School bus, which has now been declared totaled. A stolen dog was also recovered in the busMore >>
State Police say he is also being charged with the theft of two other vehicles and a woman's dog.More >>
Saturday, May 18 2013 11:45 PM EDT2013-05-19 03:45:20 GMT
State police are looking for the person responsible for stealing a school bus and taking it for a joyride in northern Vermont. Troopers say the 2014-model bus belonging Newport City Elementary SchoolMore >>
Police say the school bus belonging to the Newport City Elementary School was taken for a joy ride Friday night.More >>
Saturday, May 18 2013 10:10 PM EDT2013-05-19 02:10:53 GMT
A fatal accident in Lyndon Saturday. It happened around 2:30 Saturday afternoon on Route 122. Police say 76-year-old Gerda Blaszczyk of St. Johnsbury swerved to avoid an animal. Her car travelled up anMore >>
Police say the driver swerved to avoid an animal.More >>
Saturday, May 18 2013 8:03 PM EDT2013-05-19 00:03:45 GMT
Senator Bernie Sanders is touring the state this weekend with a special guest. Sanders and the Danish Ambassabdor to the United States are hosting town hall meetings in Burlington, Brattleboro and Montpelier. TheMore >>
Sanders and the Danish Ambassabdor to the United States are hosting town hall meetings.More >>
Saturday, May 18 2013 7:56 PM EDT2013-05-18 23:56:03 GMT
Saturday marked a new beginning for Castleton State College students. "Were all gathered here, getting fired up, having a good time," explained Castleton graduate, David Carrier. The 500 graduates hadMore >>
It's graduation day for the class of 20-13 at Castleton State College. And just for the occasion, the college invited back an alumnus with a strong connection to the school.More >>
Saturday, May 18 2013 7:51 PM EDT2013-05-18 23:51:14 GMT
Young bikers were learning the rules of the road in South Burlington Saturday. Kids who brought their bikes to the Dorset St. Park received free checks for their brakes, chains, and tires. Helmets alsoMore >>
and much more... making sure kids are safe before they hit the roads this summer.More >>
Saturday, May 18 2013 7:49 PM EDT2013-05-18 23:49:26 GMT
On a sun-soaked Saturday, Karen Trayah and her dogs enjoyed the sights, sounds, and of course smells of a festival for fidos. "It's called Woofstock, however, this is our 1st year doing it here at theMore >>
Making sure our furry friends have a place to call home.More >>
Friday, May 17 2013 7:54 PM EDT2013-05-17 23:54:10 GMT
The door to room 118 at the Liberty Inn and Suites is gone-- busted by police during an early morning drug raid. They say tenant Julie Herron, 41, was selling heroin out her room. She was living thereMore >>
A South Burlington drug bust exposed new abuses of the state's homeless voucher program. A couple was arrested for selling heroin out of their motel room, and police say the state was footing the bill for their stay.More >>