HOMER — Banks County Commissioners are grappling with the need for increased security in accessing the Banks County Courthouse Annex.
Public discussion among commissioners began Tuesday night, with most commissioners speaking out in favor of limiting public access to one door and utilizing a deputy sheriff to screen visitors.
“Our main concern is the safety of our citizens and the safety of the people that work here in the Annex,” said Commission Chairman Jimmy Hooper. “I guess it’s hard to think that Banks County would have some of the problems that we see and hear about in urban areas, but we do. We run into a situation where emotions get high sometimes, especially in some of the utilities and service departments here in the Annex. People get irritated and angry and you know where something may become very volatile and might be a situation where you need a sheriff’s deputy.”
Hooper said he knows there will be pushback from residents who come to the building to pay taxes, purchase vehicle tags, pay water bills or to conduct other business with the county, but says ultimately Banks County can’t afford to ignore security of the building.
“We’re at the talking stage right now, but I got the general impression by the board that we’ll probably be moving forward in the next few months or sooner to add a station,” Hooper said. “Again, it was not in our budget, so like everything else it’s got a price tag to it but there is no price that we can put on safety.”