Jail Bond Issue Delayed

Plans for a new Smith County Jail are still in the works, but the idea of a bond vote in November is off. According to commissioners, there's just too much uncertainty to put it before the public that soon, such as location. In this afternoon's jail workshop, commissioners said despite a push by a lawyer's group to locate the jail downtown, they will vote next week to rule out downtown Tyler as an option, instead opting for a site close to but away from downtown. Commissioners also want to meet again with all three vendors that have submitted plans.

With these issues and an opposition group already forming, the commissioners decided to aim for a May 2006 bond vote at the earliest.

"It would not have been prudent to rush this thing through the wrong way, because the risk that we run, is that if we try to push it through and try to get it on and we were not prepared and the people voted for it because they didn't have the proper information it would have been a bad thing for us," says Precinct 2 Commissioner, David Stein.

Another major decision today, the court voted 3 to 2 to give a three percent pay raise to the 263 county employees who were left out of the original budget. Judge Becky Dempsey and precinct 1 commissioner, JoAnn Fleming were the dissenting votes. The court adopted the budget with these new changes and set the tax rate, the same as the previous budget year.

Joe Terrell, reporting.  jterrell@kltv.com