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  • Kootenai County needs a new facilities to house all the new judges, public defenders and staffing.
  • The expansion is proposed to cost up to $24 Million although no design has been finalized yet.
  • The Kootenai County Commissioners would love to hear suggestions about alternatives to a bond or giant cost that will ultimately be passed along to taxpayers. Email addresses are below.

Kootenai County Open to Suggestions for Funding

If you've been paying attention to the Kootenai County Commissioners' meetings, a topic that's been on the agenda for a long time is a Facilities Expansion project - a project that is to help relieve space issues that have come with the higher staffing numbers Kootenai County judicial system has experienced in the last decade. Through decisions and legislation from years past, Kootenai County has some new judges and public defenders (rightfully needed), but now the administration building and courthouse are bursting at the seams.

A new facilities is incredibly necessary but after speaking with all the department heads and making a list of what every department NEEDS (vs. wants)m the new building is going to cost AT MINIMUM $18 MILLION dollars. The projected costs have gone as high as $24 million dollars! There's still discussions around the actual design and nothing has been confirmed yet but still...That's. A. Lot. Of. Money. There's $639,000 already allocated to start the project fun but that's chump change compared to what we need to finish the project.

There is no doubt that some sort of facilities relief is necessary but what are we do to? This is where we need all you smart brains out there to help give suggestions as to what we can do to help get this expansion going. Here's some ideas that are already on the table for discussion:

  1. Fund this through a bond, voted on by The People in the next election, to cover the cost of the building. We would be paying an additional tax over the next few years, like a school bond or something of the like.
  2. Lease the dirt to a bank, who will build a building and in turn rent it back to Kootenai County while under construction, and then we can buy it back from the bank. This is good to help with up-front costs but it'll end up costing the tax payers more in the long run than an outright bond.
  3. Utilize the newly-purchased Kootenai Electric Cooperative building and house the DMV and administration at that building subsequently opening up the current admin building for use. The challenge with that is KEC will be in that building for the next 3 years before that building will come available for any type of use for the county. We wouldn't be able to move anyone up there until KEC has vacated in 2024.
As you can probably guess from the above choices, there's no easy answer and there's still a lot of discussion that needs to happen in a short amount of time. If you have any ideas to help with the cost burden or space burden, the Kootenai County Commissioners would LOVE to hear them. Please contact them with your ideas at:
Leslie Duncan:
Bill Brooks:

There will be a Commissioner meeting where the Treasurer and a few others who will be discussing this issue specifically and I'll let you know when that happens. Until then, this is a great opportunity to be a part of the solution and help our community with its growth. This may not be your favorite subject ever, but it's exciting that we're at the point that we can give ACTUAL suggestions. I hope everyone takes a moment to help find a solution. :)
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