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Ennis facilities benefit if bond passes

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ERIC CORNELISON
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ENNIS - The passage of the proposed $53 million bond will determine if the City of Ennis will get new county facilities.

'It is contingent upon the bond passage because rental property would be more attractive if the bond did not pass,' said Ellis County Commissioner Bill Dodson, pct 2.

'Renting allows existing funds to be used to meet the demands of a fast growing county that is currently out of office and court space.

'Additional space will be needed in Waxahachie and the rent at the old Wal-Mart building will increase when the present contract runs out in 2009.'

The Ellis County Commissioners Court passed a resolution which will give the City of Ennis up to $1.25 million for the new building because old buildings have been in serious condition for some time.

'The Ennis offices have been in a state of disrepair for several years and county officials have been looking at different properties to rent or lease in the Ennis area for more than one year,' said Dodson.

'This has been an ongoing issue since before I took office.

'The existing funds or a rental expense was planned to be used for this need.'

Some residents have questioned whether the court was attempting to drum up support for the bond by giving cities such as Ennis a benefit if the bond passes but according to Dodson, 'The cities of Midlothian and Red Oak currently have buildings that are in good condition - unlike those in Ennis that desperately need repair.'

The commissioners' court made it clear while the new buildings for Ennis, though contingent upon the passage of the bond, would not be paid for with bond funds.

Even Ellis County Commissioner Dennis Robinson, pct. 1, made it clear the only reason it would be contingent upon passage of the bond would be because the funds designated for the City of Ennis buildings may not be available if the bond does not pass.

'The funds that will be available for the City of Ennis with the passage of the bond, may not be available if the bond does not pass,' said Robinson.

'Higher priority and urgent needs in other locations may be necessary if the bond does not pass.'

The current building was originally built in the early 1900s and was purchased by the county in 1970 and has been in questionable condition for many years primarily the damage to the roof and the water damage which has occurred because of the damage.

County Judge Chad Adams said, 'The fact is that the commissioners in precincts one and two have been working on the facilities needs in the City of Ennis since well before the bond proposal was passed by the court.

'They thought they had found a piece of property but it turned out to be in the wrong justice of the peace precinct and so it wouldn't work.

'But they have gotten far enough in the process to have figured out approximately what it will cost to take care of the facilities needs over there and I think commissioner Dodson just wanted to lay that out before the court in advance of our upcoming budget hearings and so forth.'

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