In a unanimous vote Thursday morning, Hopkins County Commissioners Court called for a $16 million bond election for Tuesday, Nov. 5, to build a new jail and law enforcement center. The election will coincide with the November General Election.
Balloting in the bond issue will take place at the usual voting boxes in the county, according to the motion passed by the commissioners.
County Judge Chris Brown and the commissioners held a town hall-type meeting Monday evening to provide information about a proposed new jail and the cost of the facility. About 60 people attended the meeting.
If the bond issue is approved by voters in November, the county plans to build a new jail and sheriff's office on county-owned property immediately north of the existing jail and extending to Houston Street, where plans call for the entrance to the facility to be located.
The current county jail has long been plagued with problems ranging from air conditioning and electrical problems to plumbing and appliance issues as well as structural issues, according to Brown and Sheriff Butch Adams.
The 100-bed jail has also been under close scrutiny of the Texas Commission on Jail Standards for those issues as well as overcrowding. The county has been housing prisoners in neighboring county jails, at an average cost of $35 per prisoner per day, for a number of months.
Passage of the $16 million bond issue would mean an increase of between 6.5 cents and 7.25 cents per $100 property value in ad valorem taxes for property owners in the county.
The county's tax rate is 56 cents per $100 property value currently and the increase would take that rate up to 62 cents or 63 cents per $100 in property value.
The accelerated time frame in which the election is being called is due to recent legislation that requires such elections be held in conjunction with the general election in November.
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