County Commissioner Ken Clark

Alert 14

 

This Alert is the 3rd in the series discussing the upcoming bond election on Nov. 7th. 1) Road bond 35 million 2) Facilities bond 93.6 million for a new Justice Center/ Jail along with # of other projects. 3) Grand Parkway 1.3 million to do the environmental Impact along with the alignment of the route. This issue covers Propostion # 2 the facilities issue, if you would like additional information please call me or visit Galveston County Gateway 

Remember- Early Voting starts Oct 23rd - Nov 3rd see the times & locations at
 Commissioner Clark Precinct 4 page.

County Commissioner Ken Clark 
Citizen Advisory Alert 
October 7th 2000 


Facility Bond 

During the past five years, as part of the Master Plan, we have opened a new annex in League City, remodeled both the Texas City and Santa Fe County Annexes. The Court recently awarded bids for construction of new facilities at Carbide Park and Crystal Beach. We also are in the process of asbestos abatement and construction of the new 405th District Court at the main Courthouse. 

On Tuesday, November 7, 2000, Proposition Two on the ballot is a $93.6 Million Dollar facility proposal. It consists of five components - Jail, Justice Center, Galveston Police Department, Renovation of existing Courthouse and an Emergency Management Building on FM 646 in League City. 

JAIL - The current jail was constructed in 1963 and was originally designed for 305 inmates. Today, we consistently house over 800 inmates on a daily basis. Additionally 392 beds have been added over the last 37 years, but the medical service area, the food service area, laundry area and segregation cell area have not been expanded. To accommodate this dramatic increase in jail population, we have petitioned the Texas Commission on Jail Standards for a variance to sleep 200 more inmates than we have certified beds. The State, in the near future, will likely stop allowing Galveston County to use this “double bunking” variance. There are two potential options to this issue. One would be to contract with surrounding agencies to house these 200 inmates. The cost to contract 200 inmates is $50 an inmate per day for 365 days per year for a contract cost of $3,500,000, in addition to transportation costs of $500,000. We will spend approximately $4 million of your money each year. Using the State’s projection, by the year 2010 we will be contracting out 547 inmates at an annual cost of $10,000,000 plus transportation. The second option is the plan presented in the Bond Proposal. This solution contemplates designing a 2500 bed facility and calls for the immediate construction of 1250 beds. 

JUSTICE CENTER - We are currently spending $1.0 million of your money to create space for the new 405th District Court that will open in January 2001. As of today, there is no room at the existing Courthouse. By statute, the Courts must remain in the County Seat and it is more efficient and safer, to construct the jail and courts together. In addition to the actual Courts, the proposed new Justice Center will house the offices of the District Attorney, the District Clerk, portions of the County Clerk’s Office, as well as the Adult Probation Department. As our population increases in the coming years, Galveston County will need additional Courtroom space. 

GALVESTON POLICE DEPARTMENT - At every opportunity governmental entities should work together to maximize efficiencies and get the maximum return on our tax dollars. The proposed bond issue allows us to construct a 35,000 square foot administrative space for GPD and allow the City to book their inmate population directly into the new County facility. The City of Galveston will pay for this incremental cost of construction and service through a negotiated Interlocal Agreement. 

RENOVATION OF EXISTING COURTHOUSE - As we complete the new Justice Center and many offices at the existing Courthouse are vacated, we will have space available. We intend to relocate Human Resources, Auditing, Treasurer, Purchasing, Budget and the Commissioners from the Holbrook Annex to the main Courthouse. The County currently leases space at the Shearn Moody Plaza, at a cost of $159,000 per year, for our Legal, Engineering, Right of Way and Social Services Departments. These departments will move to the main Courthouse complex. Also the infrastructure needs to be replaced, i.e. air conditioner/heating. 

GALVESTON COUNTY EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT CENTER - We have the opportunity to build a facility to house the County’s Emergency Management Office. Through an Interlocal Agreement we can also house the National Weather Service, 911 Emergency Communications District Administrative Offices and offices of the Texas Department of Transportation. This proposed facility would be built on property owned by the County on FM 646 in Southern League City. 

Galveston County will have a new Justice Center and Correction Facility on West Broadway in Galveston. The current Courthouse location will become the “Administrative Arm” of County Government. The plan includes selling the Holbrook Annex, putting that property back on the tax rolls. By eliminating the Holbrook Annex from our inventory, the County will save $100,000 each year in operating costs. We intend to close out the lease at Shearn Moody Plaza and save $159,000 in rent each year. With the relocation of our Jail the County will save, $540,000 in utilities and other operating expenses associated with the existing jail facility. The plan includes leasing the existing Jail to a private contractor to house inmates from the overcrowded State facilities. Current estimates project $1,750,000 in revenue from this competitive lease process. 

There are financial implications. The maximum tax rate increase of 2.9 cents per $100 value will occur in fiscal year 2005. Over the life of the bond, the average tax increase will be 2.0 cents per $100 value. This means on a $100,000 parcel of property, a taxpayer will pay an additional $29 per year or $2.33 per month in additional taxes. 

If you have any questions regarding the bond election please don’t hesitate to call my office. Further details are also available on the web at gcgateway.com. 

E-mail
clarkk@co.galveston.tx.us
174 Calder Rd., League City, TX 77573
281-316-8745 fax 281-316-2000

REMINDER:
If you know of anyone that would like the Alert, please send me their name, address, phone #, and the fax # or email address.