Voters turned down a tax for a new Broward County courthouse four years ago, but the county commissioners have approved the project anyway. For the next 30 years, anyone who pays sales tax in Broward County will be helping in the construction of a new courthouse.

County commissioners voted 6-3 to commit a half-cent of the existing 6 percent sales tax toward a new courthouse construction in downtown Fort Lauderdale, located on the south side of the New River.

All nine commissioners agree a new courthouse is needed. They disagree about how it should be paid for and when the courthouse should be built.

By their vote, commissioners divert the tax from its current use, for general services and projects and commit it to the construction of the new courthouse. Those opposed think that it could possibly force commissioners to raise property taxes to make up for the lost $230 million income that is currently going to general county coffers to use on practically anything, from buses to deputies.

The cost to each individual Broward County resident is difficult to calculate, because it’s a sales tax, not a property tax. But, in general it was estimated at about $8 a year for the typical resident.

The courthouse plan calls for demolition of the existing parking garage that’s adjacent to its west side. The new courthouse will be built there. Where the existing courthouse is located, a new parking garage with ground-floor retail will be built.

The expected cost for the new courthouse is $328 million, but the county already has the remainder of the money set aside, including $65 million from a proposed but never-built new jail.