County, city move forward on joint processing center

Harris County commissioners have begun speaking with the City of Houston in regard to constructing a joint processing center to ease an overcrowded county jail system.

"[The county] has had conversations with the mayor, and the next step is to bring in contractors and architects to help define this project," said Art Storey, executive director of the county's public infrastructure department.

The construction of a joint processing center was first brought up under former mayor Bob Lanier for a cost of $245 million, but was voted down in the 2007 bond referendum. The total cost of the project will be announced this summer.

"The city is paying for half of this project," said Bill Jackson, director of budget management. "So the process is moving forward. If we need to have a bond election to pay for this project, we will discuss that possibility."