Leonard says jail over budget, Jones & McCay respond - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

2/15/10

Leonard says jail over budget, Jones & McCay respond

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LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - A candidate for County Commissioner says some county officials are not telling Lubbock citizens the truth about the real cost of the new jail.

"According to the Sheriff - the costs are approaching $100 million. We have a jail that is approaching $17 million more then what voters approved," said John Leonard.

City Councilman Leonard is running against County Commissioner Patti Jones for the Precinct Four seat. He says voters approved $83 million dollars for the jail, but that today's price tag exceeds that, and the jail is still not open.

Leonard says the blame lies with the County Commissioner's court.

"I think that the blame of the oversite clearly lays with the Commissioner's Court. They had the ultimate oversite of the project," says Leonard.

But Leonard's opponent, Incumbent Patti Jones, says Leonard is wrong.

"Well, its quite interesting of the time it comes out, basically saying that our County Auditor, our facilities maintenance director, our Sheriff, transition team, Commissioners Court, have all been trying to deceive the citizens of Lubbock County which is just totally untrue," says Jones.

County Commissioner Bill McCay also responds to Leonard.  He says back in August 2005 construction costs were going up rapidly and so Commissioners decided to scale back from 1500 beds to 1334 beds. 

Later, in 2006, the forecast for construction costs had improved so commissioners decided to borrow $12.5 million in addition to the $83 million that voters had approved.  Construction was restored to the original plan of 1500 beds.

Now, in 2010, McCay says Lubbock County still has $7 million outright that is left in the bank.  Additionally, he says Lubbock County has a $4 million retainer that will probably not be paid to the general contractor.  And so the County has roughly $11 million to offset the costs of debt. 

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