The new Smith County Jail Committee heard some heated words from a member of the audience during its first-ever meeting. The 15-member committee was formed by Smith County commissioners earlier this week to make recommendations to the court for the new jail project. Commissioners took that step after disbanding the previous jail planning committee. The group, made up of 47 members, was formed about one month ago.
Last month, voters rejected two jail bond proposals. After the meeting, Whalen told KLTV 7 News that's because commissioners did not explain the options well enough to taxpayers.
"We don't need no stinking committee. We already have all this stuff together," said Whalen. "If they had sold it right in the first place, we wouldn't be doing all this stuff because we're only like 3,500 votes difference, so all you have to do is take half of those people and change their mind."
During today's meeting, the group adopted a charge that was modified from the previous one. They also discussed site selection, a discussion they plan to continue at their next meeting.