$237 million county bond up for vote in November

Hays County voters will decide this November on whether they’ll support a bond initiative that, if approved, would improve the county public safety facilities, including the jail, along with area infrastructure.

During the course of a marathon 11-hour meeting, Hays County Commissioners Tuesday crafted a $237.8 million bond initiative, voting 5-0 to place on the November ballot. 

Within Hays County’s bond package is $106.4 million that would go toward improving public safety facilities. The cost would go toward a colocated facility that would house a $62.4 million expansion of the Hays County Jail, along with $44.4 million for a 911 communications facility. 

Brenda Jenkins, a represenative with ECM, said colocating the two facilities allowed for a more cost effective design. 

“Even though we really would have liked to have seen the number lower…we at some point have to say these are things that are needed to make this jail work,” Hays County Pct. 1 Commissioner Debbie Ingalsbe said. She added the county’s decision to go forward with Option B for the bond allows for future expansion and avoids the issue of the jail being full on day one. 

“It would be irresponsible for us to consider a bond that doesn’t address any future growth (for the jail),” Ingalsbe said. 

Pct. 4 Commissioner Ray Whisenant said the bond allows the county to provide a facility that is “safe for people operating it and are being detained by it.” 

But commissioners spent hours whittling down their wish list for potential road improvement projects to be included in the bond. 

The end result saw commissioners approve $131.4 million of their $326 million preliminary project list within the referendum. That includes an $11.8 million realignment of FM 150 West from Yarrington Road to Arroyo Ranch Road.

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