Hays County commissioners to decide on November bond Aug. 16

The Hays County Commissioners Court will discuss two potential bond propositions for the November ballot at a meeting Aug. 16.

The Hays County Commissioners Court will discuss two potential bond propositions for the November ballot at a meeting Aug. 16.

Hays County voters may have at least one or as many as two major collections of projects to consider funding when they go to the polls in November.

On Aug. 9, the Hays County Commissioners Court discussed calling a bond to be placed on the November ballot that would address the county’s aging law-enforcement infrastructure. The court may add another component to the bond that would fund improvements to roads throughout the county.

The court has until Aug. 16 to call the bond, and commissioners directed staff to put an item on the Aug. 16 agenda to potentially place both items on the November ballot.

Pct. 1 Commissioner Debbie Gonzales Ingalsbe said the court has worked hard to ensure it is not overbuilding or overspending. She said she wants to present a bond package that will be palatable to voters.

“We want to be able to build something that is functional, that is efficient, but we also want to be able to present to our voters in November —if the court chooses to go that way—something that … our voters might say they can support,” Ingalsbe said.

The county has been discussing potential improvements to law-enforcement and public safety facilities for more than a decade. Conley said when he came into office in 2005 one of his first meetings was with former County Sheriff Don Montague regarding public safety facilities needs.

“What we have done in this county collectively that has taken all our efforts is to squeeze every single bit of value out of the current assets associated with our communication, law enforcement and certainly our jail facility,” Pct. 3 Commissioner Will Conley said. “That wasn’t easy work. That took collaboration of many different elected offices.”

Hays County District Attorney Wes Mau said the DA’s office is primarily concerned with ensuring justice is delivered in cases that come through the court, and the overcrowding at the jail can make that difficult.

“One of the things that concerns me about the overcrowding at the jail is that it puts a lot of pressure on the district attorney’s office and working together with the sheriff to try to clear out inmates from the jail as best we can,” Mau said. “That does end up putting some of the emphasis more on clearing out the jail population than it does on really seeking justice in the case and looking at the cases individually.”

The offices of the sheriff and district attorney have worked to ensure that misdemeanants and other offenders are not held in the jail longer than is necessary under the law.

ECM International, the county’s public safety facilities consultant, is recommending a $108 million construction package that would renovate the existing jail on Uhland Road in San Marcos and construct new law-enforcement and colocated communication centers near the Hays County Government Center on Stagecoach Trail in San Marcos.

ECM International’s proposal would add 192 beds to the existing jail, which is currently over capacity. Hays County Sheriff Gary Cutler said as of Aug. 9 the county had more than 100 inmates being held outside Hays County because the county jail is at capacity.

The county also discussed a collection of road projects totaling $119.6 million-$150 million.

Among the projects in the potential road bond package are the widening of Dacy Lane north of Kyle from Beebe Road to Windy Hill Road for $12 million; the extension of Robert S. Light Boulevard from FM 967 to FM 1626 in Buda for $6.2 million; safety improvements on FM 3237 from RR 12 to FM 150 for $14 million; and acquisition of right of way and utilities work for the realignment of FM 150 from 2770 to I-35 near Yarrington Road for $11.8 million.

In addition to the specific projects listed in the draft project list money may be allocated to “county-wide buckets” to address broad issues such as drainage, nonmotorized transportation facilities and environmental and conservation measures.

Dan Wegmiller, the county’s financial advisor, indicated the county could issue up to $250 million of bonds without necessitating a tax rate increase, Conley said. The current public safety facilities and roads packages being discussed total $227.6 million-$258 million.


MOST RECENT

Photo of nurses offering drive-thru vaccines
Appointments no longer needed for drive-thru vaccines at Circuit of the Americas

From April 23-25, people age 16 and up can receive first doses of the Pfizer vaccine without an appointment at COTA.

(Courtesy Burgandy Star Espresso)
Walk-up coffee shop Burgandy Star Espresso now open in Buda

A new coffee shop called Burgandy Star Espresso, which was inspired by similar businesses throughout the Pacific Northwest, opened April 22 in Buda at 1710 FM 1626.

Proposed rezonings of 51 acres in San Marcos would have included single-family and multifamily housing as well as a boat and RV storage facility. (Evelin Garcia/Community Impact Newspaper)
San Marcos City Council passes on rezoning 3 developments

Proposed rezonings of 51 acres would have included single-family and multifamily housing as well as a boat and RV storage facility.

As part of President Joe Biden’s plan to reopen schools safely nationwide, the department’s National School Lunch Program Seamless Summer Option is being expanded beyond the summertime. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
USDA extends free school meals provision through 2021-22 school year

Schools nationwide will be able to serve nutritious meals to all students free of charge regardless of eligibility through June 30, 2022, officials announced.

Buda ended its moratorium on issuing solicitation permits during City Council's April 20 meeting. (Screen shot courtesy city of Buda)
Companies may again seek door-to-door solicitation permits in Buda

Following a temporary suspension of permit issuance for door-to-door solicitation in Buda, officials have decided to again allow companies to sell to residents—provided they are willing to go through the process of applying for and paying for the permits.

Kyle Police Chief Jeff Barnett addressed council April 20 regarding an ordinance restricting sex offenders' residency in the city. (Brian Rash/Community Impact Newspaper)
Kyle officials revisit safety zones designed to restrict registered sex offender residency

After numerous, divisive public discussions that began in February, the city of Kyle is once again considering implementing child safety zones that would restrict where registered sex offenders may go and reside.

Kyle Communications Director Samantha Armbruster addresses City Council on April 20. (Brian Rash/Community Impact Newspaper)
Kyle makes play to be designated official Pie Capital of Texas

Though unofficially, the city of Kyle has already put in the work to be the Pie Capital of Texas, and officials are now campaigning to make the designation legal and binding.

Kyle City Council approved the rezoning of land to a townhome district during its April 20 meeting. (Brian Rash/Community Impact Newspaper)
Townhome district to help diversify Kyle’s housing profile

A townhome district in Kyle is defined as allowing attached, single-family structures with four or more dwelling units at a minimum of 1,000 square feet per unit.

A team from Texas State University presented findings to Kyle City Council on an ongoing ride-hailing partnership with Uber. (Brian Rash/Community Impact Newspaper)
Analysis: Uber/Kyle partnership so far meeting expectations

During Kyle's April 20 meeting, the Texas State University team said the Kyle model would have to surpass 58 riders per day to exceed the city's budget—$150,000 for fiscal year 2020-21.

Mayor Jane Hughson speaks during a groundbreaking for medical marijuana company Goodblend in San Marcos on April 19. (Warren Brown/Community Impact Newspaper)
Medical marijuana company breaks ground in San Marcos

Goodblend will build a $25 million medical cannabis cultivation, production and retail facility near the Amazon Fulfillment Center in San Marcos.

Early voting for the May 1 election runs April 19-27. (Community Impact Newspaper staff)
Hays County reports 500 votes in first day of early voting

Education-related election items in Hays County include $443.5 million in bonds as well as city council positions, school board seats and municipal utility district directors.

Doug Wozniak, the district's director of tranportation and safety, updated officials on staff's latest vaccination plans during SMCISD's April 19 meeting. (Screen shot courtesy San Marcos CISD)
San Marcos CISD working on plan for student vaccinations

While no students at San Marcos CISD have yet been vaccinated for COVID-19, at least not as part of any district program, a plan is in the works to ramp up inoculations for that population.