Hays County considering bond to address jail crowding

On May 13 Hays County Commissioners discussed a possible November bond that would address crowding issues at the county's 27-year-old jail.

The county is working with Broaddus & Associates on a study looking at how best to proceed in expanding the jail's capacity. At the meeting on May 13, commissioners approved $140,000 to extend a 2013 contract with Broaddus on a study related to the jail and county law enforcement center, which are each located off Uhland Road in San Marcos.

According to a previous study, the county, which currently has 362 beds at its county jail, will need 960 beds by 2033, assuming growth rates similar to those from the 1990s.

Precinct 3 Commissioner Will Conley said the jail will most likely remain at its current location. Conley said the county has been able to extend the life of the jail because of collaboration between judges, clerks and the district attorney's office.

"At some point in time you utilize something to 100 percent of its value," Conley said. "In my opinion, and I believe Commissioner Ingalsbe's opinion as well, we've reached that capacity on many fronts."

The study between Broaddus & Associates and Hays County will examine four possibilities: renovating the existing jail, building a new law enforcement center at the government center off Stagecoach Road in San Marcos, acquiring additional land on which to build a new jail, or acquiring land surrounding the current jail and building the new facility on portions of the newly acquired and current property.

Law enforcement officials at the meeting spoke in favor of constructing a new law enforcement center at the government center. Sheriff's Office Captain Mike Davenport said the proximity to the government center, which houses the district attorney's office and stores evidence, would be more efficient than the center's current location.

Davenport said the possibility of co-locating the San Marcos Police and Hays County Sheriff's Office, an option that was also discussed, would also allow for collaboration between the two entities.

When the 12-week study with Broaddus is completed, commissioners will select a preferred scenario.

Conley said the preliminary estimate of the bond total that would fund construction of a new jail facility is $100 million–$120 million. That bond amount, which Conley stressed was preliminary, could be funded through new growth in the county, without any increases to residents' property taxes or any effect on the county's credit rating.

Precinct 4 Commissioner Ray Whisenant said the county does not have a lot of time to make a decision about the future of the jail. The jail population has been hovering near capacity for months.

"We are teetering on non-compliance," Whisenant said. "If we don't act expeditiously, I think we're going to find ourselves behind the so-called eight ball."
By Brett Thorne
Brett Thorne reported on education, business, economic development and city government in San Marcos, Kyle and Buda from 2012 to 2017. Thorne attended Texas State University in San Marcos, where he graduated in 2010. He joined Community Impact Newspaper as a reporter in 2012 and was promoted to editor in 2013.


Residents will be able to comment on projects funded through the CDBG-CV grant at a June 2 City Council meeting. (Anna Herod/ Community Impact Newspaper)
City of San Marcos seeks public input on projects for COVID-19 response funds

A virtual public hearing will take place at a June 2 San Marcos City Council meeting to comment on proposed programs and projects to be added to the 2019-20 Community Development Block Grant Action Plan using CDBG-Coronavirus Response funds.

LIST: What is open, closed in Texas and how businesses can operate

Texas openings are staggered with different opening dates and operating limits.

New Braunfels is the third-fastest-growing city in the U.S. from 2010-19, according to the latest census numbers. (Community Impact staff)
These 5 Central Texas cities are among the fastest-growing in the U.S.

Four of the five cities represent notable growth in Williamson County.

All patients, residents and staff at Texas' 23 state hospitals and supported living centers are to be tested for coronavirus. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Texas to test all state hospitals, supported living centers for COVID-19

All patients, residents and staff at Texas' 23 state hospitals and supported living centers will be tested for coronavirus regardless of symptoms or exposure.

Hays County Judge Ruben Becerra is encouraging testing for residents. (Joe Warner/Community Impact Newspaper)
MAY 23 ROUNDUP: Top stories from this week in Central Texas

Read the most popular stories from the past week of Community Impact Newspaper's coverage of Central Texas.

With social distancing measures still in place, celebrate Memorial Day weekend from the comfort of your home with these takeout family packs. (Courtesy Hopdoddy Burger Bar)
MAY 25 ROUNDUP: Business updates from Central Texas

Read Community Impact Newspaper's coverage of Central Texas business news here.

In a letter addressed to state agencies and higher education institutions, Gov. Greg Abbott, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and House Speaker Dennis Bonnen said the reduced budget comes in preparation to the coronavirus pandemic’s impact on state finances expected to be felt in the coming months. (Courtesy Fotolia)
Budget cuts slated for Texas state agencies, higher education institutions in 2020-21 biennium

Texas state agencies and institutions of higher education to expect a 5% reduction in budget plans for the 2020-21 biennium as part of the state's response to the economic ramifications of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Gov. Greg Abbott is waiving the late fee for Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission license and permit renewals that have lapsed since March 13, according to a May 20. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Gov. Abbott removes late-fee barrier for Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission license, permit renewal

Gov. Greg Abbott is allowing the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission to waive the late fee for license and permit renewals that have lapsed since March 13, according to a May 20 press release.

Here are the coronavirus updates to know in Hays County. (Community Impact staff)
746 coronavirus tests have been reported in Hays County in 2 days, yielding 20 new cases

22% of all coronavirus cases recorded since March have been reported in the last 2 days

San Marcos continues to add residents at a steady pace. (John Cox/Community Impact Newspaper)
DATA: Population growth for San Marcos mirrors Hays County increase since 2010 census

San Marcos has seen a 44% population increase, while Hays County has gained 47% since 2010.

Pinstack opening during coronavirus
As entertainment centers across Austin reopen with bowling and more, the future of arcades remains murky

Concurrent with the governor’s Phase 2 rules, several Austin-area entertainment centers will reopen in the coming days and weeks with bowling, axe throwing, karaoke and laser tag.