By Jon Schroeder
Killeen Daily Herald
GATESVILLE – With three choices before them, the newly-appointed members of Coryell County's Jail Options Review Committee will soon start a county-wide conversation.
Chosen at Monday's meeting of the commissioners court, committee members include commissioners Jack Wall and Elizabeth Taylor, along with Jail Administrator Kenneth Green and five others: former Copperas Cove Mayor Jim Schmitz, Neil Davisson, Jim Saunders, Jim Hall and Charles Niemeier.
The group will begin meeting soon, although dates have not yet been set.
Three options are on the table, and Coryell officials have made it clear that any of the three are possibly the best choice for the county.
Two of them, building a new jail and renovating the current facility, both would ramp up the county's 92 beds to a new high, with spots for 250 inmates.
Both would cost about the same, with a new facility costing about $500,000 more. And if a new facility is built, something will have to be done with the current jail, which is in need of renovation, even if it isn't expanded.
Coryell County Judge John Firth has said previously that if a new jail is built, there are several possible routes the county could take in making the old facility useful.
At the commissioners meeting two weeks ago, using the old jail as a juvenile facility was discussed, as was the sale of the property. To date those choices haven't been closely examined.
If neither a new jail nor an expansion to the old jail proves to be the best plan, Coryell County can continue sending inmates to out-of-county facilities at a cost of about $44 a day per inmate. However, Green said in an interview last week that other jails in the area are becoming more crowded as well.
There was also discussion at Monday's meeting about the legality of other commissioners attending committee meetings. If commissioners Don Jones and Daren Moore attend and participate, the county will make the meetings open to the public.
Contact Jon Schroeder at firstname.lastname@example.org or (254) 501-7475.