Hays County highlights: 5 things that happened at commissioner’s court Feb. 12

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Weekly Hays County Jail report

Hays County Judge Ruben Becerra revealed in a report on the county jail—which has been faced with consistent overpopulation for years—that the county spent an estimated $61,507 last week to outsource inmates.

The jail’s maximum capacity is 362 inmates. However, to comply with state standards, its recommended that counties keep 10 percent of its beds open—lowering the capacity to 311 inmates.  

“The jail’s daily average was 512 with its peak at 524 from Feb. 3 to Feb. 9,” Becerra said. “The average number of outsourced male inmates was 170 and females were 12. This week’s inmates were housed in the following counties: Blanco, Burnett, Caldwell, Falls, McClennan and Limestone.”

Becerra said the weekly jail report will be a standing agenda item going forward so that the county can be aware of the overpopulation issue as officials try to find a remedy.

County to reapply for state program eligibility

Hays County commissioners unanimously voted to authorize Becerra to reapply the county for eligibility to participate in the Texas Facilities Commission Federal Surplus Property Program.

The program allows the county to purchase discounted surplus property donated to the state from the federal government. In the past, the county has used their participation in the program to purchase military trucks to be used in flood rescue missions, according to county staff.

Commissioners vote to support Rep. Erin Zwiener’s ‘Hill Country Scenic Highways Bill’

Hays County commissioners voted to support state legislation that would add several highways in Hays County to Section 391, Subchapter I of the Texas Transportation Code, which would effectively restrict the presence of billboards along those roads.

House Bill 1303, filed by Hays County’s state Rep. Erin Zwiener, D-Driftwood, would add FM 1826, RM 150 and RM 967 to the list of roads where “off-premise signage” is prohibited by the Texas Transportation Code.

The resolution passed by the commissioners also stated support for the addition of FM 2325, FM 3237 and RM 12 from Wonder World Drive to State Highway 290 to the list.

Zwiener named HB 1303 the Hill Country Scenic Highways Bill and stated in a Feb. 4 press release that she believes billboards create visual and light pollution, reduce surrounding property values and usually remain once they are erected. The bill is supported by the Friendship Alliance, Hill Country Alliance and Rim Rock Subdivision.

“Western Hays County is growing fast, but folks visit and move here because of the beautiful scenery,” Zwiener stated in the release. “We must protect our tourism, our property values, and our beautiful views.”

Hays County Animal Control received a donation

The Hays County Citizen Sheriff’s Academy Alumni Association donated hazardous material masks to each of the Hays County Animal Control deputies. Alumni Association representative Angie Cruz said the masks are military grade and will help protect animal control officers when they are responding to potentially dangerous situations.

“I just want to thank the alumni association for this donation,” Commissioner Lon Shell said.

Commissioner appointed to TIRZ board

Newly elected Commissioner Walt Smith was unanimously appointed to the board of directors for the Dripping Springs Tax Increment Reinvestment Zones No. 1 and No. 2. His term will end on Feb. 12, 2021.

 

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Anna Herod covers local government, education, business and the environment for the San Marcos and Hays County communities. Born and raised in Texas, Anna moved from North Texas to San Marcos in 2014 where she has been covering local news ever since. Her bylines have appeared in the Austin American-Statesman, Hays Free Press and The Burleson Star. She is a graduate of Texas State University's School of Journalism and Mass Communication.
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