Local News

Durham County Hopes to Consolidate Services in the Future

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DURHAM — Paying taxes or taking care of a ticket can be a hassle anywhere you live, but inDurham Countyit is even more difficult because county business here is conducted in 50 different locations.

County leaders say there is a shortage of office space here, which is no surprise to anyone who has ever had to hike all over town to take care of things.

The aging, overcrowded judicial building cannot hold all of the court offices, much less house other county services.

Orlando Moore runs from one building to another for his job as a probation officer.

"A lot of people don't have transportation, and it would make it easier for them to just go to one location instead of going to several locations to conduct business," Moore says.

County leaders say the problem is unavoidable right now, but it may get easier in the future.

"We're trying to plan for the future," says county manager David Thompson. County leaders are studying some options that would make their offices more user-friendly.

All of the scenarios involve building a new, $36 million courthouse.

The county could cluster some offices in the old social services building, or build new offices near the health department. Access to public transportation and parking will play a big role in the county's decision.

"One of the new scenarios the board has asked us to look into is a combined mental health, health, social services complex with open space, and create a very citizen-friendly arrangement," Thompson says.

All of the options, including new construction or renovation of old offices, would take place over 20 years.

But the school system is about to ask the county for $171 million for construction, so county leaders would like to see some money committed to this project now too.

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Stephanie Hawco, Reporter
Jim Young, Photographer
Julie Moos, Web Editor

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