By Pat Stacey
The Smith County jail bond has finally passed after multiple tries and forms. But now the real work begins. Smith County Commissioners are faced with acting quickly to take advantage of the current economy and get the project going. The jail improvements, while not perfect, do appear to address the most pressing needs and there is even the possibility that the county will be able to generate some revenue of its own by accepting prisoners from other counties with capacity problems. So the future is bright. But the same energy and persistence that was applied to passing the jail bond must now be channeled to make it a reality. The last thing commissioners need to do is to encounter any delays. The project needs to come in on time and at or under budget. Downtown Tyler will benefit from the project and it may pave the way for a new look at the Smith County Courthouse and the numerous issues there. So while this jail project is designed to keep prisoners safely locked up, it should also remove the handcuffs that have been on Smith County law enforcement and the courts and help get the system where it needs to be, making for a Better East Texas.