SMITH COUNTY, Texas (KLTV) - There was a half a million-dollar request that the Smith County Commissioners say they did not expect coming in today’s commissioner’s meeting.
“Obviously this is a half a million-dollar expense that we didn’t anticipate,” Smith County Commissioner Jeff Warr says.
A somewhat heated and rather valuable discussion took place in Smith County Commissioner Court Tuesday.
“This is not the first time we have talked about things that need to be done in the jail and I don’t want it to look like here in commissioner court that the sheriff hasn’t advised you of things that need to be done,” Smith County Sheriff Larry Smith says.
Smith County Sheriff Larry Smith, along with the jail administration, requested more than half a million dollars for jail repairs.
“To refurbish 8 cells that exist here at the low/medium risk, that’s very important to the operation of the jail system,” Chief Deputy Deal Folmar says.
Inmate housing improvements specifically; inmate showers, bathrooms, and plumbing will all be stripped and replaced in parts of the jail.
This comes after the Smith County jail was determined to be non-compliant after an inspection in March.
The jail soon became state approved once again, but only by minimum standards.
“The jail commission this year mandated that we take care of some of these repairs on short notice, it was not something that was anticipated to happen this budget year,” Smith County Judge Nathaniel Moran says.
The commissioners approved the sheriffs half a million-dollar request after the state jail commission pushed to speed things up a bit.
“We have been for a number of years doing block by block renovations internally, saving a lot of money doing that, but this year the jail commission decided they were ready for that action to be expedited,” County Judge Moran says.
The Smith County Commissioners say because of this rather large dent in the counties budget, some projects will have to be moved back. This includes the beautification of the Cotton Belt building in Tyler.