County Commissioner Ken Clark
Citizen Advisory Alert
For Posting May 20, 2000



The County is considering putting a bond election for roads and facilities, including the Grand Parkway bond issue, on the November 7th ballot. The November date is being considered because a presidential election is scheduled, which will optimize turnout and give more voters a say on the future direction of Galveston County. We would also save almost $70,000 by putting the bond election on the November ballot, because we would not have to pay for another election. Commissioners
Court is still having preliminary discussions on these issues; nothing is set in stone, and all is subject to change.


Road bonds of $25 - $35 million are at issue. The projects included on the proposed list were submitted by local cities. The proposed projects are now being reviewed by a consultant to prioritize them for Commissioners Court. That process should be completed soon. One criterion in prioritization is using local money to leverage supplemental funding from the state and federal government for larger
projects. We want the whole county to benefit from these projects. 


Another criterion is timing of construction. We want approved projects to be completed within 4-5 years. I don't want to ask voters to approve projects that will not be done in a timely manner. Although these projects are needed, I will wait until I see the fine print to decide whether to support the bond issue.

The facilities issue concerns a new jail and justice center. The current jail was built in 1963 to house 390 prisoners. It has been expanded twice, and now accommodates about 700 prisoners. There have been no major changes to the original 1963 kitchen facilities. We have received variances from the Jail Standards Board to house 850 prisoners in the jail at this time, but the availability of continued variances is
in question. If we sent our excess prisoners out of the County to another facility, it could cost us upward of $3 million per year. We are therefore looking at the cost effectiveness of building a new jail. 


A Justice Center that would house our District and County Courts, District Attorney, and Clerk would be built next to the jail. A new Justice Center is necessary because we are out of room at the current courthouse and many of the current courtrooms are too small. The addition of the new 405th District Court has brought the problem to a
head. There is not much available space at the courthouse complex, so we are looking at alternative sites for building the proposed jail/Justice Center.

The Grand Parkway election is a referendum on whether Galveston County should take a proactive approach to building the next loop around Houston. In Galveston County, the Grand Parkway will go from Highway 146 west to the county line. The election would authorize the project and fund phase I and II, which would entail an environmental impact study and a survey to determine the route of the Parkway in the County. 

It is contemplated the Grand Parkway will not be built for 10+ years.  It is critical that we preserve the Grand Parkway corridor for that future construction. Ensuring the future of the Parkway in our fast growing county is essential for future economic development. 


I would greatly appreciate your thoughts, concerns, or questions regarding this bond election. Yes! I would like to know what you think. E-mail clarkk@co.galveston.tx.us


Property Value Assessments

Did You Know that the Preliminary Assessed Property Values in Galveston County for the year 2000 is $700,000,000 countywide of which $302 million are new improvements?


E-mail clarkk@co.galveston.tx.us
174 Calder Rd., League City, TX 77573

281-316-8745 fax 281-316-2000

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