Commissioners Begin New Plans For Jail Project

The new planning process for the Smith County Jail project has begun. Smith County commissioners discussed the project today for the first time since voters rejected two bonds for a new jail.

Commissioners voted on nine recommendation points today, including one to get County Judge-elect Joel Baker and Commissioner-elect Mill McGinnis to join future discussions. Commissioners also want the No-No committee, who opposed the two proposals on the ballot, to take part in the talks.

"The very next step is to bring everyone to the table and hear everyone's concerns, hear everyone's ideas. One of the points that I think is very interesting and it's a good point in commissioner Fleming's recommendation was that everybody who has a vested interest in this, write their concerns down," said Smith County Judge Becky Dempsey.

"We need to decide on the site. We need to decide on the election. Because quite frankly, it's costing the taxpayers of this county every day that we wait it costs more," said Smith County Precinct 1 Commissioner JoAnn Fleming.

Commissioners would like anyone who wants to take part in the process to contact the court by Friday. Their next meeting is set for May 31st. Commissioners are aiming for a November vote on the jail project and say they'll have to work hard through the summer to make it happen.

Oralia Ortega reporting,