Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Newest TX jail proposal may be financed by US Ag Department

The latest jail building project in Texas may be financed by the US Department of Agriculture, strangely enough, if Coryell County (Gatesville) accepts a $22 million loan the USDA offered them this week. The Killeen Daily Herald reported:
The Coryell County Commissioners Court voted to accept conditions for a $21.9 million loan to build a new jail and law enforcement center, but the conditions are not binding and acceptance of the loan will ultimately be decided by voters in November.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development Farm Service Agency is offering the loan in response to an application the county filed in September, hoping to get a grant.

The interest rate for the loan will be either 4.6 percent, or the rate at the time of loan closing if it is lower. The county will repay the loan over 40 years.

Renovating the current 92-bed capacity jail or building a bigger facility altogether has been the topic of much discussion by Coryell County commissioners since 2010, when a report from the Texas Commission of Jail Standards projected the facility would need no fewer than 144 beds daily by 2027 to house inmates.
That said, some locals seem to think the voters won't go for it because repaying the loan would require a tax increase:
County Sheriff Johnny Burks pointed out accepting the loan would mean taxes would increase.

County residents Ron Poston and Norm Whitelend said they didn't think voters would approve the measure in an effort to keep taxes down.

Still, Commissioner Daren Moore said the court should move forward.

"I think we have to do something," he said. "I think it would be irresponsible for us to not at least move forward and let the voters decide where they want us to go."

The court unanimously approved the measure, which gives it one year to meet the conditions outlined in the letter and does not obligate it to do anything further. [County Judge John] Firth said if the court wanted to back out before April 2012, it could do so.
I find it bizarre that the federal government is financing local jails in any event, but it's particularly odd for such funds to come from the Department of Agriculture as opposed to the Justice Department or some other thematically related agency. What's not surprising is that local voters might reject new jail construction out of concern over taxes, which has become a recurring theme in such county-level debates.

RELATED: US Department of Agriculture should stay out of the jail building business


Prison Doc said...

I sure hope they reject it. What a horribly bad idea, on several different levels.

Anonymous said...

Here is a county that built its wealth on the blood of children. The birth place of state sponsored child abuse that has moved to abusing women. Chances are there is something shady, or some obsolete government policy relating to the agricultural profits that were gained at the expense of orphans and widows. This is an evil, corrupt county that has not only built its wealth from the blood of children but being a welfare drain on tax payers money. This is the county that elected the likes of dog man kitchens as sheriff, a child abuser in the first degree, like many of those hillbillies in that aria. You can bet there is a shame afloat with these monsters. An there sports teams set examples of bad sportsmanship. There is not enough terrible things that can be said about Coryell County and the generational curse passed down by the hillbilly ancestors that settled, and raised families there. This grant should be fully vetted before any tax money should be loaned to them.

A former resident

Anonymous said...

And here I thought the federal government was broke and looking for ways to cut the budget. Go figure.

Anonymous said...

Grits, if I'm not mistaken, this facility is the former Gatesville State Juvenile Training School, the infamous juvenile facility opened in 1889.

I visited it a couple of years ago and some of the same buildings dating back to circa 1900 were being used for the prison.

The USDA connection makes a weird sort of sense in that historical context, since the facility's main source of revenue in its early decades was farm labor - both on state-owned and privately owned land in the area.

Bill Bush

Anonymous said...

First i hope they reject it. That said, and why pay it back, the feds would forgive the debt if they were any other country. I say take the money and run.

The Homeless Cowboy said...


Audrey said...

If the US Dept of Ag has an abundance of money, perhaps the Congress could reappropriate it to something more funding Medicare, for all the lost withholdings of those who paid into the government required program. Information like this is important to show us where the pockets of money are within the gov't.

Anonymous said...

If any county in the U.S.A. could figure out where or how to get money to torture more people this is the county to do it. This county houses war criminals and the worst human beings on this planet and they are not on the inside of the prison. THEY ARE RUNNING THEM!! WAR CRIMINALS!!!!