Petition delays jail construction

Nolan County Commissioners accepted a petition Monday following the commissioners’ meeting, which will take county jail construction and fixing of the courthouse facade to the voters in November. Dr. Loren Bryant presented a petition of 446 signatures asking the issue to go to a bond election. This number meets the required 5% of registered voters, which equals 420 voters.The petition for a bond election was presented prior to the meeting, and County Attorney Lisa Peterson took most of the day to verify each signature. Judge Tim Fambrough stated later that afternoon that the signatures had, in fact, been verified. Fambrough admitted he was disappointed that the election will delay construction of the jail nine months to a year since the election doesn’t take place until the general election in November. With the location picked out, the architect finished with his work, and now a contractor awarded the bid, Fambrough said they would have started pretty quickly.Turner Construction was awarded the bid to build the jail and repair the courthouse façade during Monday’s meeting as well.Fambrough said he hopes that voters realize the need for the jail and that they will make it a reality in November. “We will have problems if it doesn’t pass,” he said, pointing out the state jail commission’s requirements for improvements to the jail.Among other business, a burn ban was re-instated for the county and will be reviewed again at the next commissioners’ meeting in two weeks.The purchase of a replacement laptop for the county auditor’s office was also approved within the price of $700 to $1100.During the time allowed for citizens to speak, Ray Browning, the public health emergency preparedness planner with the Sweetwater-Nolan County Health Department asked about the status of the purchase of a reverse 9-1-1 system. He pointed out that the health department had already paid $1,000 towards the project, which is to be paid for by the health department, county and city. Browning said the health department was afraid they would be in violation of the request for the grant and be forced to pay the funds back if they were not used within a specific time frame for this particular project. County Commissioner Terry Locklar apologized for the delay and assured Browning that the county would take care of their part in a timely manner.