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Suburban Counties Ask Voters To Approve More Jail Space In Nov. 3 Bond Election

Texas Public Radio Archive
Comal County jail

Voters in Comal and Kendall counties will be deciding whether to build additional jail space in their county seats when they go to the polls November 3.

The two counties just north of San Antonio are some of the fastest-growing in the country, with Comal County's population nearly doubling since the mid-1990s.

Comal and Kendall counties recently have seen their jail populations grow to the point that they have had to rent space in other jails. Each is asking taxpayers to fund new jails to handle the increase.

According to a report in the San Antonio Express-News, Comal County taxpayers have already paid $1.68 million to buy 12 acres in New Braunfels to build a new jail. Now voters are asked to approve a $76 million-dollar bond for construction of the facility. It calls for almost 600 beds and an expansion capacity of up to 900 beds.

The Comal County judge estimates taxpayers would see a 1-cent-per-$100-in-valuation increase in the county tax rate if the measure passes.

Kendall County taxpayers are asked to approve a $22 million bond to fund a 96-bed jail facility in Boerne, along with a new law enforcement center. The sheriff says they have been making do, but existing facilities are so cramped that they store criminal evidence in large metal containers outside.

Kendall County voters turned down a jail bond in 2004. Officials remain hopeful the new bond will pass this time.

Eileen Pace is a veteran radio and print journalist with a long history of investigative and feature reporting in San Antonio and Houston, earning more than 50 awards for investigative reporting, documentaries, long-form series, features, sports stories, outstanding anchoring and best use of sound.