Court discusses jail expansion, courthouse annex and more

Finished 2017 with a little over 26.6 inches of rain collected in my gauge on the outskirts of Black Creek. Bout 4 inches less than 2016. Very little action so far this year (1 tenth) but, keep prayin.
Got another subdivision coming in northern Medina County that is gonna be a shot in the arm to our tax base. High end homes with a dedicated plot for first responders. Only thing different from the newest subdivision in the area is that it will not have its own on-site sewer treatment plant.
We authorized the Sheriff to apply for a program grant with the Criminal Justice (oxymoron) Division that would pay for body-worn cameras. Randy hit the nail on the head when he said that we used to “raise our right hand and swear to tell the truth” and that would suffice but, society has deteriorated so much that this is no longer a standard that is acceptable. This is a great tool in most cases, a stumbling block in others and sometimes, even with admissions and confessions and video proof, the crooks get off on a technicality.
The workshop portion of the meeting took more time than the regular Court meeting. Items discussed included Jail expansion, Courthouse Annex, establishing a District Court exclusive to Medina County and Subdivision Rules.
Last year, we spent right at $397,000 on out-of-county housing for Medina County prisoners. We have budgeted $250,000 for this year. We will pay off the (existing) jail bond this year. The already budgeted amount for out-of-county prisoner storage could pay for a new bond to be used for construction. The Jail would realize some income to offset these numbers by renting beds to the Federal Authorities.
A Courthouse Annex would be needed to house several satellite offices and another Courtroom or two. Currently, Judges have to schedule Courtrooms several months in advance and with a resident District Court, the courtrooms would be more efficiently used and the District Attorney and District Judge would concentrate on one County instead of three. This would tie in with the Jail expansion by having our crooks here and not having to go fetch them every time they need to be in court. Cuts down on the time and expense of goin and bringin them back.
The District Court issue is something that will take a couple of years and Legislative approval. This would allow us to handle more cases and lessen the jail storage time and hospitality afforded by the County to the crooks arrested here.
The Subdivision rules were tailored to better inform the developers of their responsibilities and the County’s expectations.
With our tax base growing at about $700,000 per year since 2014 (sounds a little light), it is anticipated that we will not have to raise the tax rate to accomplish building the above mentioned additions. In fact, to quote our favorite Aggie County Judge, “I don’t want to raise the tax rate.” Me neither. Now, if we can keep the Appraisal District out of our pockets so we don’t have to pay Melissa Lutz more rent on the stuff we think we own, we just might be able to keep some of the money we have earned a little bit longer.
These are short attempts to explain the needs and costs associated with them. There will be community meetings held to inform the public of the nuts and bolts of the proposals as time goes by. Commissioners Court cannot, by law, carry banners or hold rallies in support of this endeavor but, we can inform the people who are going to be asked to foot the bill for this.
If you haven’t had a chance to watch our Warhorse or Arabian basketball teams play yet, go watch em. They know what they’re doin and they do it pretty good. Still got that ugly word on the front of the school. Figured the Student Council would have brought that up by now. Mawmaw (Johnnie Evans) is gonna be a whole lot happier soon. Willie….196 days.
Sad day at DHS last week and every day since.