A new jail bond vote?

Thursday, November 11, 2010 - 12:41pm

You have to award points for persistence. Smith County Commissioners are talking about a jail bond election again, and as soon as this May.

A new jail expansion plan is being floated in Commissioners Court, and potential opponents are holding their fire for now.

But given the result of the school bond vote last week, is this the time to bring up the jail issue, for the fourth time in 4 years?

No one who is paying attention doubts that the Smith County Jail is overdue for either expansion or replacement. The questions have always been where and how much?

This one is $33-million and will amount to an expansion of the current medium risk facility which takes total beds from 755 to 1,139.

That should eliminate the need to transfer prisoners to other counties. Commissioner Jeff Warr led the presentation last July of the proposal and this week, Commissioners discussed putting it on the ballot for May.

We contacted the Grassroots America group and Director Joanne Fleming said they haven’t taken an official position yet.

But given the chilly reception for the school bond issue last week, is May too soon to try to tap the taxpayers again?

At the July rollout of the plan, former Judge Cynthia Kent said, it’s possible to get it passed, if the plan is
a good one.

KETK was told that the Commissioners originally wanted to put the plan on last week’s ballot, but were worried about two bond issues in competition.

Given last week’s results, and the apparent mood of voters right now, that may be the least of the worries.

Here's a link to the PDF presentation:

http://smith-county.com/Commissioners/Planning/Jail%20-%20July%202010%20...

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