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."


MOST RECENT

Photo of Congress Street
The Moontower Comedy Festival will return in September

Headliners for the four-day festival include Margaret Cho, Dave Attell and others.

Juneteenth BBQ Cookoff. (Courtesy San Marcos Juneteenth Foundation)
From musicals to pro wrestling, events abound in the San Marcos-Buda-Kyle area in June and July

Throughout June and into July, the cities of San Marcos, Buda and Kyle have plenty of recreational activities and events to attend.

In Hays County and beyond, Central Texas community comes together to drive up vaccination rates

Convincing hesitant people to get vaccinated is the goal for Central Texas health authorities, volunteer groups and physicians. Working in conjunction to reach these pockets of vaccine-hesitant Texans, they hope to boost vaccination rates past the threshold for herd immunity.

The extension of Kenney Fort Boulevard is underway north of Hwy. 79. (Amy Bryant/Community Impact Newspaper)
North-south road in Round Rock makes progress; homestead exemption OK'd in Leander and more Central Texas news

Read the top business and community news from the past week from the Central Texas area.

Courtesy Valentina's Tex Mex BBQ
5 new businesses now open or coming soon to Buda and Kyle

As Buda and Kyle continue to grow rapidly in Hays County, more and more businesses are planting roots there.

Brian Rash/Community Impact Newspaper
HVAC service, Hawaiian food and vinyl records: 10 new businesses now open or coming soon to San Marcos

From the resurrection of a beloved local record store to new dining establishments, the businesses continue to open locally.

Here are the latest coronavirus updates from Hays County. (Community Impact staff)
Hays County reports 125 active COVID-19 cases, new death

The death of a Kyle woman in her 80s was attributed to COVID-19 by Hays County.

Hays CISD board members, leadership and community stakeholders participated in a June 9 groundbreaking of Sunfield Elementary School. (Courtesy Hays CISD)
Hays CISD breaks ground on Buda elementary school

Buda's new Hays CISD elementary school in the Sunfield devlopment is planned to open for the fall 2022 semester.

Gov. Greg Abbott, center signed Senate Bills 2 and 3 into law June 8 in response to the devastating winter storm last February. (Trent Thompson/Community Impact Newspaper)
Gov. Abbott signs bills to reform ERCOT and weatherize Texas power grid

The bills will go into effect Sept. 1 and aim to reform ERCOT leadership and increase accountability and communication among power agencies.