Message from the President
On November 4, 2014, the citizens of Miami Dade County will vote on an issue of upmost importance; the Eleventh Judicial Circuit’s dire need for a new civil courthouse. Not only is the existing civil courthouse in a state of great disrepair requiring over $25,000,000 in emergency repairs to date, but it has been outgrown by the number of staff housed there and the number of visitors it receives on a daily and annual basis.
The historic building at 73 West Flagler Street houses over 450 staff members, including 34 judges. There are 23 courtrooms in the building, shared by 41 judges and general magistrates. The building receives 3,600 visitors daily, and 936,000 annually. There are only 7 public restrooms for the entire building. Out of the 24 floors in the building, 3 are completely unusable, and 2 are under construction (which required the move of the Probate Division to satellite facilities in Overtown). The structural integrity of the building is compromised with 132 of its 144 supporting columns damaged. There is water intrusion and mold; electrical and plumbing deficiencies; insect infestation; termite infestation and damage, and the majority of the building is not ADA accessible.
This public vote will decide whether to issue a bond to assist with the costs of building the new courthouse, which projected cost is $400,000,000.00. If the measure is ultimately passed by the electorate, it will cost an approximate additional $18.00 in real property taxes per every $200,000 home.
It is of the utmost importance that we, the Wilkie D. Ferguson, Jr. Bar Association support our Eleventh Circuit and mobilize in support of this ballot measure which will be placed on the November 4th ballot for approval by the electorate.
We encourage your to visit www.buildingblocksforjustice.com for additional information relating to this important issue. We welcome your comments and suggestions. Please direct all inquiries to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
In an effort to inform our members and the general public about the Civil Courthouse Campaign, the Ferguson Bar will continue to post updates here. Please check this page regularly for developments.