County Seat Signatures Postpone Construction Plans - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

County Seat Signatures Postpone Construction Plans

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BENTON COUNTY, Wash.--Something has to give.

On Wednesday (September 17th), Benton County commissioner Claude Oliver says his support for additional construction at the Benton County Justice Center and courthouse in Prosser is put on hold.

This is in response to the petition Fred Staples filed on Monday (September 15th) to move the county seat.

Right now, its unknown how much it will cost for the switch.

Oliver added state law also plays a big role in this process.

Even though commissioner Leo Bowman says a county seat move has always been a possibility, the final decision lies with county taxpayers.

"This is a very unusual process," admits Bowman. It's not a normal petition or initiative process because the county seat is such a big deal, but only the citizens can sign that. See, the commissioners can't put it on the ballot. Commissioners can't keep it off the ballot."

Commissioner Max Benitz feels both changes at the Benton County Justice Center in Kennewick for an administrative office building and the courthouse in Prosser, which includes stronger handicap access is still needed.

All three commissioners are scheduled to discuss moving the county seat at a meeting later in September.