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More on the county bonds proposal

More details on the county bonds proposal that came out yesterday, though the questions that most interest me are still unanswered.

Major projects that likely will be put before voters include:

  • Family Law Center: An $85 million courthouse would be built at San Jacinto and Franklin, across the street from the current family courthouse. The current courthouse and the nearby former district attorney’s building would be razed, and the block bordered by Franklin, Fannin, Congress and San Jacinto likely would become a park or plaza.
  • Juvenile detention: The county would spend $76 million to renovate the former county jail and turn parts of it into juvenile detention space, alleviating crowding at other county facilities.
  • Adult jails: The county would spend $213 million to build a central processing center, which would provide a booking and inmate classification area, expanded health and mental health areas and a 2,500-bed jail. The city would contribute $32 million toward construction.

I still want to know: Are we talking about building more adult jail cells, or are we talking about replacing existing ones, without adding capacity? And if the former, what are we doing to fix the underlying cause of the county jail’s problems? Because if the the answer to that question is “nothing”, then the next thing I want to know is if these issues will be on separate ballots, so I can vote against this one without having to reject the whole package.

On other matters, it’s nice that Commissioners Court is pinky-swearing that none of this will raise property taxes, but frankly that’s at best a tertiary concern for me. If this is worth doing, then it’s worth paying for. I’m sure bonds are a fine way of doing that, but it neither has to be the best or only way. I find the constant fetishizing of property taxes to be annoying, as well as a frequent driver of questionable public policy.

And finally, get used to this:

The Friends of Charles Bacarisse, a group raising campaign money for District Clerk Charles Bacarisse to run for county judge, assailed Emmett for supporting an expensive bond package.

“This court once again failed to consult with the people who put them in power on matters affecting our collective future,” said Jim McGrath, spokesman for the Bacarisse group.

Let’s get ready to rumble! Outside of cold political calculations, I don’t have a dog in the Bacarisse/Emmett smackdown. But I do plan on enjoying the spectacle.

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One Comment

  1. Charles Hixon says:

    Fetish or not, you mentioned it, so apparently this bond proposal will include verbage promising that Commissioners Court will not be raising my taxes.