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home : opinion : letters to the editor
February 23, 2020

1/15/2020 3:27:00 PM

Tearing into historic courthouse is bad idea
For 115 years the Cottonwood County Auditor/Treasurer's office has stood the test of time with no issue.
Our courthouse is one of a kind in the Upper Midwest. So, why tear out a couple of walls in the name of unproven efficiency?
This proposal is based purely on speculation. The commissioners have voted to spend $5,000 on remodel cost analysis. So, two months after taking over this office, management feels it has enough evidence to support this project.
Efficiency comes from the workforce. This office started with four employees. Two left and there was one new hire in December. Auditor/Treasurer Donna Torkelson complained in the Oct. 18 Citizen of working 10- to 12-hour days. Now she and the board believe her office can be efficient with three cross-trained employees. News flash: On Jan. 7, commissioners voted to hire another deputy treasurer. Cross-training idea is a bust. What next?
This is irreplaceable damage to a historical building for a bad idea.
Not once in the Dec. 18 article by Rahn Larson was there a qualifying quote from the auditor/treasurer backing her request. Wouldn't you think that the person who fostered this remodel would like to have the opportunity to defend her plan?
Why now is this destructive idea, which has been on the back burner of certain individuals at the courthouse, being brought forward? Maybe former managers embraced the beauty of the office and its history.
No matter. At the end of the day, if this department gets its way the integrity of this office is gone, and with it, part of the courthouse's century-old history.
Is the alleged money-saving idea worth it, versus preserving the originality of the last untouched office area on the main floor?
The commissioners are investing big money in the courthouse. Projects include the recently completed, and wonderful, parking lot improvement ($100,000), tuck and flashing work on the steeple ($125,000), possible total window replacement ($800,000) and funding a foundation dehydrating system.
These funds are used to maintain and restore our historic courthouse which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Ask yourself if tearing out two office walls is worth it. How about putting pride first into this local icon?
Your voice counts. Call your commissioners and tell them "no" to the proposed auditor/treasurer remodeling project. You can help save the integrity of this beautiful building for decades to come.

     - Jim Schmidt

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