Commissioners Intend to Issue Certificates of Obligation for 2nd Phase of New Jail
SAN ANGELO, TX -- Tom Green County Commissioners Tuesday approved a notice of intent to issue a combination of tax and revenue certificates of obligation for the second phase of jail construction during their regular meeting.
Precinct three commissioner Rick Bacon is leading the effort to construct a new jail and shut down the old one downtown. He says the process has been convoluted, but in the end the $80 million new jail will have 553 beds and cost around $70 million.
The county borrowed $50 million in 2014 to construct the first phase of the jail with plans to add on in the future as needed. The plan included about $15 million to remodel the Tom Green County Courthouse.
The plan also called for operating both the old and new jails until the new one was large enough to handle all the inmates. Then the jail standards commission informed the county it would have to operate two complete staffs at a cost of about $4 million per year. The county couldn’t afford the additional cost of operations, so they had to come up with a new plan.
The court contracted with Kenny Franke Architects to get bids on expanding the new jail now under the existing contract. Bacon says by law they couldn’t modify the existing construction contract more than 25 percent or $12.7 million. Bacon says the preliminary bids for the four additional pods came in at $12.1 million so they can save time and money by completing the new jail while it is under construction now.
Bacon says adding the four pods will only add five months to the completion date moving it from May 2019 to September 2019. Issuing the new debt will not necessarily require a tax increase Bacon said, “We won’t know that until budgeting (this summer).” With sales tax revenues on the rise and property valuation increases, a tax increase may not be necessary. Bacon says the court will have the opportunity to issue up to $10 million in new tax and revenue obligations but they may not need the entire amount. The final numbers will be available at the end of April. Bacon says they would then issue the debt in May.
Bacon says the decision to renovate the courthouse and the old jail will come in the future after the new jail is completed.