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Commissioners Court to try, try again

Here we go again.

Commissioners Court could vote Tuesday on whether to take another shot at asking voters to approve a bond proposal for a new jail.

County administrators scaled back plans for the downtown facility after the electorate rejected a $245-million proposal by a 51 percent to 49 percent margin last November. The plan would have relied on $195 million in bonds.

While officials suggested the court find other ways to pay for the downsized facility, Commissioner Steve Radack said he would oppose any plan not approved by the people.

The plan unveiled last month cut the facility’s capacity from 2,500 beds to about 1,000. The five-story jail would house sick inmates and those expected to be released within three days.

That plan would cost $171 million, with about $110 million funded by bonds.

The court also could consider adding 600 beds for sick inmates, which would add as much as $76 million to the bond proposal.

It’s possible this is a sensible plan. I’m willing to be convinced by someone I can trust that it is. But until such time, my position remains that I will not vote for any bonds to fund new jail construction until I am satisfied that we have taken concrete steps to deal with the underlying reasons for our overcrowded jails. Otherwise, this is like dealing with a leaky sink by installing a larger bucket.

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One Comment

  1. Ron in Houston says:

    Wasn’t that the only bond prop that failed? Doesn’t the braintrust in Commissioner’s Court understand that there was probably a reason for this?