ECSO facilities moving or slated for demolition
Lone ‘no’ vote cast by Ron Brown
The Ellis County Press
WAXAHACHIE – Ellis County Commissioner Ron Brown, R-Red Oak, has made it a hallmark of his elective office career being the lone dissenter on issues ranging from tax increases, government growth and more recently, a measure to move a law enforcement training facility to the county farm.
First elected in 1991, Brown, like the retiring Sheriff Ray Stewart (Johnny Brown takes over as the new sheriff in January), wanted ECSO training facilities constructed at the old Superconducting SuperCollider property, but commissioners voted to utilize the 400-acre county farm northeast of Waxahachie instead.
Because of the county’s new government center and jail expansion – the second phase of building projects taxpayers have paid for (Brown opposed the first round due to taxpayers voting the proposals down; commissioners under then-Judge
"Al Cornelius passed a tax anticipation note to fund them anyway) – a metal building near the sheriff’s office has to be relocated or demolished to make room for the expanded facilities.
County officials said the building will be "evaluated for relocation and expansion for use" as a storage unit to house seized evidence and vehicles.
"We will make sure we use the county funds in the best way possible," said County Engineer Joe White.
"If it’s not economical, we won’t move it, but we are going to show the public and prove to ourselves that we are doing a prudent thing with the money."
If the cost of relocating and expanding the existing structure exceeds 80 percent of the expected cost to construct a new facility of equal size and quality, a new facility will be constructed and the existing facility will be sold for removal, county officials said.
Commissioners, according to the county’s public relations clerk Diana Buckley, were also asked to approve construction of a replacement training facility for the ECSO at a cost not to exceed $475,000.
That figure was budgeted in the $53 million bond taxpayers passed last spring.
Two locations were proposed – a site of approximately 14 acres remaining from the old SSC property and currently used by the ECSO for some purposes, or the county farm, the aforementioned tract of 400 acres north of Highway 287 in Waxahachie.
"I think, operationally, for the sheriff to keep it all in one place, it would be good at the SuperCollider, but I really like the use of the county farm," said County Judge Chad Adams.
"I am foreseeing [juvenile justice alternative education program] issues that we will have to begin to address, and we have to have a location for that.
"This would give us a foot at the county farm, but I will leave it to the court."
Brown’s no vote was outnumbered from commissioners Dennis Robinson, Bill Dodson and Heath Sims.
Adams usually doesn’t vote unless there’s a tie.