The November elections are exactly two weeks away. Your ballot will include a number of state and county races and one very important proposition. The proposition asks you whether or not you support building a new $83 million jail. Lubbock County Sheriff David Gutierrez says it's an investment we can't afford to pass up on.
The jail proposition on your November 5th ballot is worded like this. Are you in favor of quote, 'The issuance of general obligation bonds not to exceed $83,210,000 to pay for the construction and equipping of a new county jail.' The ballot has a place for you to mark, 'For' or 'Against' building a new jail.
Sheriff Gutierrez told the Lubbock Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Tuesday night that voting for the new jail is an investment in our future. "It's unfortunate to be faced with such a desperate situation, but we either build a new jail or continue to contract our prisoners out $3.5 million a year," says Gutierrez.
The new jail project has been in the works for more than a year. It gained the support of the County Commissioners this past summer. The proposed jail will be built outside the City on land already owned by the County. It will cost roughly $83 million to build, will have plenty of beds and is located in a spot with plenty of room to grow, unlike the current downtown location. "We're in desperate need of beds. The analysis of our current structure is that it cannot accommodate additional beds. It's just maxed out," says Sheriff Gutierrez.
Although the Lubbock Hispanic Chamber has not yet endorsed the new jail, the chamber held this meeting to inform voters about the issue. "We feel that in order to make an educated vote, you have to be informed and that's why the meetings going on," says Chamber President Esther Sepeda.
The new jail will cost taxpayers about $4 per month for homeowners in a $70,000 house. That's $48 a year.