By KayLynn Roberts-McMurray

The Ely Times

The White Pine County Commission and Ely City Council held a joint meeting last Wednesday to approve a Joint Resolution 2017-01 that was sent to the Nevada State Legislature in support of AB40. This is funding for an new secure courthouse facility that will be located at 1785 Great Basin Blvd.

In 2007, the U.S. Department of Justice released a report saying that the 100-plus year old Ely courthouse building should no longer be used for criminal or civil cases.

But, the courthouse has had no option but to stay open and continue on with it’s daily operations. Many of the cases seen in the District Court have defendant’s accused of violent crimes while in prison. Another handful of inmates have appeared in connection with lawsuits against the prison.

Many high profile cases involving drug cartel that involved several armed law enforcement officers having to escort the defendant and provide security during the entire time of a trial.

Some inmates are put on an elevator used by judges and courthouse workers to get them to the proper courtroom.

The first floor of the courthouse houses several county offices, including the county clerk, and the treasurer’s office. Justice Court proceedings are held in a basement, without an emergency exit for the judge.

Adjacent to the courthouse is a public library, a school and homes putting the close proximity of endangering residents and students if a security breach was to occur.

Clearly it is becoming more and more critical for the funding to be secured for this new facility. With the resolution being signed, and the commission and city council working together things are moving forward. Commission Chairman, Richard Howe said “ I want to thank the city for their cooperation, we are moving into a new era and this is a very positive move for all the citizens. I think we have made a major step in the future of White Pine County and the City of Ely.”

A public meeting will be held on May 3, at 6 p.m. at the Courthouse in the large courtroom.