County approves plans for new jail
By LPR Staff
Caldwell County is one step closer to construction of a jail annex that Commissioners hope will ease future jail overcrowding.
After a unanimous vote during the regular meeting of the Caldwell County Commissioners Court on Monday, architect Joe Santopetro presented the completed construction documents and asked the Court
to approve a timeline for bids on the project. The Commissioners will advertise a request for contractor bids within the next two weeks, and open those bids in mid-September. Contracts should be granted near the end of September for a targeted fall construction.
According to Santropetro, the architects have addressed the few remaining issues regarding population housing that caused concern to the Texas Commission on Jail Standards, and will submit the final construction documents for Jail Standards review this week.
The Court also heard concerns from a number of central Caldwell County residents who attended the meeting to oppose a proposed expansion of the Pegasus School on Robin Ranch Road.
According to school neighbors, the facility may already be overpopulated, and the state of the complex is becoming a concern to some neighbors.
“One of the biggest hazards we find living on that road is the number of trucks and vans that come in and out making deliveries to Pegasus,” said Burt Livengood, who lives near the school complex. “And if one of those delivery trucks is coming, you”d better yield to them, or there will be a problem.”
Other residents expressed concerns about Pegasus students trespassing on their property or approaching their homes late at night.
Commissioner Tom Bonn reminded the citizens, however, that the students of the Pegasus School participate in a number of community service projects throughout Caldwell County, and that while their concerns may be valid, the school and its students also serve a purpose.
In other business, finances were a key topic of conversation, as the Court reviewed the budgets for both Caldwell County and the Caldwell County Appraisal District.
In a brief presentation by Caldwell County Chief Appraiser Pete Islas, the Commissioners learned that the Appraisal District has prepared two budgets for the coming year – one for appraisal duties and a second for collection duties. The county”s contribution to the appraisal district budgets totals some $262,800.
County Auditor Sonny Rougeou also presented a brief budget workshop to the Court, discussing changes and additions to the county”s budget for the coming fiscal year.
Of note, the county hopes to increase staff in some county offices, while offering many employees a cost of living raise up to five percent.
The Commissioners will continue to review the budget and vote on a finalized budget and tax rate later this month.
In brief news:
The Court opted not to reinstate an outdoor burning ban. However, the Commissioners, along with Emergency Management Coordinator Jimmy Parker, noted a growing risk of grass fires because of the increasing temperatures and dry weather. Although they opted not to instate the ban, they urge the public to use caution when burning.
The County paid bills in the amount of $333,110.09, including $31,210 in indigent legal defense.
The Caldwell County Commissioners meet on the second, third and fourth Monday of each month at 9 a.m. in Room 100 of the Caldwell County Courthouse.