Jail bond question to go to ballot

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Socorro County residents have spoken, and they like the idea of a new detention center.

County Manager Delilah Walsh presented the results of its jail bond survey to the Board of County Commissioners at its meeting on Tuesday, Aug. 14. Based on county residents’ general approval of the jail bond issue, the board voted to put it on the November ballot.

c/o Socorro County: The proposed detention center would be far from the current center, which is a few blocks from the plaza.

Of the 557 respondents, 61.8 percent said they would definitely support the proposed Enterprise Road location for a new detention center, and a further 22.6 percent said they would probably support that location. Just under half of the respondents — 49.4 percent — would definitely vote for the required $5 million bond which would pay for most of the detention center, with a further 29.4 percent who would probably vote for the bond.

As it stands, the county’s plan is to commit $1.5 million for the new jail from the general fund, then pay for the bond with an existing levy of 1.9 mills, which was previously used to refurbish the building at 200 Church St., which houses the District 7 court. Of the respondents, 47.9 percent definitely supported this plan, and a further 31.2 percent said they would probably support this plan.

Based on this information, the board voted to put the $5 million bond on the November ballot for a public vote.

Walsh also received many questions about the new jail which she plans to address in informational materials between now and the election.

The board also:

  • Approved a contract to lease five power poles from the Socorro Electric co-op between the County Manager’s Office and the DWI Compliance Office. The poles will be used to suspend fiber optic cable which will put the DWI office on the county’s computer network;
  • Approved a revision to its home detention policy, making it more clear participants will be subject to “random and reasonable” drug testing.
  • Renewed its contract with the state regarding the Rural Bookmobile;
  • Approved annual funding for grading roads in Alamo.