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Mineral Wells rejects Emerald detention center financing deal

From the Mineral Wells Index ("Council declines Emerald finance proposal," October 7),

Mineral Wells City Council on Tuesday declined to second a motion to finance a proposed Immigrations and Customs Enforcement detention facility.

Emerald Correctional Management Company said it was unable to date to secure private financing for the 500- to 1,000-bed facility that would house detained or arrested illegal immigrants. The company asked the city to issue public revenue bonds to build the estimated $50 million project.

After a presentation during Tuesday's council meeting, council members asked several questions, and Councilman John Ritchie made a motion to approve the financing request. However, no member of council seconded the motion, and the motion died with no further action or discussion.

What that means for the project's future is not certain. The Index is working on the story and will post it later today.

This is clearly good news for the city of Mineral Wells.  As I wrote yesterday, building a speculative detention center under the auspices that an ICE contract may appear seems less and less like a good idea.  And, floating bonds to pay for such a detention center can be a really bad idea.  Just look at the Littlefield, Texas or Hardin, Montana for examples of what can go pretty horrendously wrong when a municipality floats bonds to pay for a prison that may or may not end up with prisoners.  We'll keep you posted on how this story plays out. 

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