County moves forward with justice complex

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Austin County commissioners authorized Judge Tim Lapham to begin negotiations with Lower Colorado River Authority on moving utility lines in order to expand the county’s justice complex.

“Myself and Commissioner [Mark] Lamp and the sheriff met with LCRA about moving this transmission line that runs through,” Lapham advised the commission during a June 11 meeting.

Lamp said LCRA agreed to consider the matter.

“As you can see, what it does is it frees up all that property behind the jail for expansion with the jail,” Lamp said. “I think this would be more useful for the county.”

The goal, Lapham said, is to have LCRA release the right-of-way so the county can move the transmission line to an area where it would not conflict with new buildings planned for future construction.

“That way we can use the whole property,” Commissioner Randy Reichardt said.

Commissioners also agreed to work together to clear the property.

County officials have been talking for several months about constructing a justice complex, and Lapham has said if bonds are to be issued in November, the item has to be advertised to the public by mid-July. County buildings are overcrowded, aging and have been plagued with mold and leaky roofs.

In other matters during the June 11 meeting, commissioners heard from representatives of the sheriff’s office that in the month of May they have received 3,622 calls, made 18 arrests and have 127 active investigations.

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