Monday, October 4, 2010

GOP Plans To Vote All Demos Out Of Bosque Courthouse

Meridian – Republicans in this rural central Texas county are planning on eliminating all incumbent elected officials from the Bosque County Courthouse.

The controversy stems from a plan to finance a new $9.9 million County Jail at the behest of the officials of the Texas Commission on Jail Standards.

Those in the know seem to disagree with a news report published last week in “The Meridian Tribune” which stated that the Commissioners' Court has approved a plan to build a new county jail.

A careful check of the public record shows the County Commissioners' Court did not “approve” a plan to build a new Law Enforcement Center.

“This newspaper has never printed a story that said a new jail has been approved,” thundered Dennis Phillips, Managing Editor, when reached at his office for comment.

“On April 12, 2010, the Bosque County Commissioners' Court approved a plan to build a new Law Enforcement Center to replace the current facility,” reads the lead on the story published Wednesday, September, 29.

It is a matter of public record that on April 12, they approved a design that would allow 96 prisoners maximum to be housed inside its walls and to begin with a 64 bed starting capacity. They also approved a motion to put a bond election on the November 2 ballot.

“It's far from a done deal,” said Bosque County Clerk Betty Outlaw.

“We decided to let the voters decide,” said County Commissioner Jimmy Schmidt, one of three road commissioners who voted against the issuance of revenue bonds without voter approval.

On August 9, the Court approved the open-ended language of this proposition crafted by a law firm that specializes in public bond issues.

“Shall the Commissioners' Court of Bosque County, Texas be authorized to issue bonds of said County in an amount not to exceed $9,900,000 to pay for the construction and equipping of a new Law Enforcement Center (County Jail) and the acquisition of a site therefore, such bonds to mature serially or otherwise over a period not to exceed forty (40) years from their date, to be issued and sold in one or more series at any price or prices and to bear interest at any rate or rates (fixed, floating, variable or otherwise and not exceed the maximum rate prescribed by law) as shall be determined within the discretion of the Commissioners Court at the time of issuance or sale of the bonds; and whether ad valorem taxes shall be levied upon all taxable property in the County sufficient to pay the annual interest and provide a sinking fund to pay the bonds at maturity.”

Voters will be allowed to vote for or against the proposition.

The author of the report that stated, without attribution, that the Commissioners' Court had approved the plan to build a jail is Nancy Bratcher, the wife of Dr. Tom Bratcher, Bosque County Republican Chairman.

Interviewed at Republican Party headquarters in Clifton, Dr. Bratcher said he and his wife had talked to County Judge Cole Word and Commissioner Ken Harbison, who told them that the jail had to be approved, or else it would never have wound up on the ballot.

“Eventually, we're going to have to vote everyone out of the Courthouse,” Dr. Bratcher told The Legendary. “Those people can't handle the job of running this county.”

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