County seeks counsel on jail electricity issue

By Lisa Treiber-Walter —

Facing a big decision on which utility provider to use for electricity at the new Gillespie County Jail, county officials have opted to seek outside legal counsel.

Catherine J. Webking, an Austin attorney who specializes in public utility matters and who helped the county on transmission line issues in the past, will be hired at $1,500 and with a tight deadline, to assess the current situation and tell county commissioners if they should use the City of Fredericksburg or Central Texas Electric Cooperative as the primary provider of power to the jail facility.

“She can assess and advise so that we know exactly what the legal issues are and so we know what our responsibilities might be,” said Commissioner Donnie Schuch, in Monday’s commissioners’ court session.

At question is whether the county should use City of Fredericksburg electrical service, or decide instead to choose service from Central Texas Electric Cooperative (CTEC), which claims it is legally allowable under a “200-foot rule.”

The $15 million, bond-funded jail is currently being built behind the Gillespie County Law Enforcement Center (LEC), 1601 East Main Street.

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