Mold cleared from county jail


Pending an inspection by the Texas Commission on Jail Standards, some prisoners could be returned to the Austin County Jail this week.

The inmates have been transported to Fort Bend County at a cost of $55 per head per day since August while mold was being removed from the local facility.

Austin County Sheriff Jack Brandes reported Monday that the “new part” of the jail recently received a clean bill of health from AQ Testing Services LLC.

“According to the analytical evaluation of the air samples collected at the evaluation site, the indoor airborne mold spore counts were within acceptable ranges,” states a report provided by AQ Testing. “Passed clearance has been achieved.”

Sheriff Brandes said the inmates could be returned as early as March 15.

“We checked everything in the jail and all is well as far as we can tell, but the jail commission has the final say-so,” he said. “As far as we know, we’re squeaky clean.”

Brandes also presented the February 2018 monthly activity report, which showed more than 3,000 calls, 139 active cases and 66 jail transports. Ten narcotics cases were closed, and 128 traffic citations were issued. Grant funds awarded to date total more than $90,000.

Commissioners approved the sheriff’s request to add a sergeant to the payroll in order to have a supervisor on duty around the clock. The move actually results in a cost savings because unfilled positions for a K-9 officer and crime victim liaison were eliminated or the job duties were consolidated with another existing position.

“We’re creating one more sergeant position; that’s what we need,” Brandes said. “We feel like we’ll be doing more for the people going that route rather than getting another K-9.”

In other matters on Monday, commissioners:

• Selected Beyer and Co. of Pleasanton as an outside auditor at a cost of $32,275 per year for three years. The company has worked for Austin County previously, officials said. The only other bidder provided a quote of about $10,000 more than Beyer and Co.

• Approved a one-time variance to subdivision regulations to divide 30 .2 acres on Carter Lane in Precinct 1 into four parcels.

• Approved a one-time variance to subdivision regulations to divide two one-acre tracts with an additional 0.8-acre access tract out of 4.999 acres on Gajewski Road in Precinct 4.


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