- Associated Press - Friday, January 29, 2016

BRANDON, Miss. (AP) - The Rankin County Chancery and Justice Courts will be located in one new courthouse without a chancery clerk’s land records office, based on a vote by the county Board of Supervisors.

The Clarion-Ledger reports (https://on.thec-l.com/1WRqDDz ) the board voted Thursday to move forward with plans to build a courthouse that joins both courts after months of contention about which offices should be located in the new building. Original plans included the chancery clerk’s land records office.

Supervisor Jared Morrison said the new plans “leave everything the same, just move the justice court and chancery court.”

The board authorized architects JH&H; to move forward with the slightly altered plans.

Morrison said the cost of additional drawings is worth making the right decision, and will clost less than other alternatives the board discussed. “It’s not like they’re throwing everything out the door and starting over. They can tweak and adjust,” he said.

Land records, the tax assessor’s and the tax collector’s offices will remain in the Rankin County Court House Annex building.

Morrison views the board’s decision as a money-saving one. He makes a distinction between wants and needs of county government, suggesting the current courthouse plans reflect just the needs of the county.

“My thought was we’re addressing the needs of Rankin County and its judicial system, but yet we’re saving tax dollars at the same time,” Morrison said. “There are other things you’ve got to have that are needs, and you have to be prepared to handle it.”

One of those might be a new misdemeanor facility for the county jail. Sheriff Bryan Bailey is working on plans to expand the jail to handle a growing number of misdemeanor inmates.

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Information from: The Clarion-Ledger, https://www.clarionledger.com

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