ECTOR COUNTY, TX (KWES) - Talk of a jail expansion for Ector County has been swirling for a while now. County Commissioners voted on an official debt for it Monday, making the expansion a reality hopefully within the next year.
Back in April, Ector County Commissioners voted on just how much money they would need for the jail expansion, with only one dissenting vote.
On Monday, commissioners approved how they were going to get that money fro the expansion. This time, it was unanimous.
"I may have surprised a few people by going ahead and voting for it," said Precinct 2 Commissioner Greg Simmons. "But like I said, I think at this point, it's just time to come together as a group and say hey, we're doing this, let's move forward and make the best decisions we can moving forward now."
The commissioners voted on two things, first, a $25 million budget for the construction of the jail. Second, a $1.8 million budget for the fees and everything that comes with construction.
County Judge Ron Eckert said this can help make our community safer.
"I would really hate to see any of our law enforcement die in any unnecessary accident out on the Interstate," said Eckert. "We're going all over the place with these prisoners. I'd hate to see the prisoners die. They're doing their time, they're paying their debt to society. But they still have rights, they still have a right to life."
Despite approving the loan for expansion, Simmons said he will continue to push for the idea that just because they have the money, does not mean they have to spend all of it.
"So basically we got the $25 million and my goal would to not spend it all," said Simmons. "So that's where I'll kind of focus my efforts now. As these bids come in, we'll try to hold our architect feet to the fire and make sure we get the best prices as we can now."
Now, the architect will get to work drafting blueprints for commissioners to approve before any construction breaks ground.
The county judge said he hopes the earliest construction can start is the first quarter of 2018.