Not using the term borrow, because of its legal implications, Stasny during the meeting rescinded the motion which stated that the county would “enter into a financial contract with First Prosperity Bank for $60,000 for three years at 5 percent interest.”
The county needs the $60,000 so it can receive a matching amount from the Texas Historical Commission.
Stasny, after the meeting, said that commissioners would look closer at the county budget to find the money needed to pay for the matching portion of the grant.
The total amount needed to improve the courtroom acoustics aren’t known; however, the court has an initial, written estimate of total costs. If costs exceed $120,000, the court has the option of delaying approval of some of the work and equipment or using funds presviously believed unavailable to the court.
County leaders authorized an acoustics study of the district courtrooms in June 2007 because of complaints of poor sound quality.
An Austin company, BAI, conducted the study over a two-month period.
According to the study produced by BAI: “Sound takes too long to go away in the courtrooms. That is to say, sound reverberates — bounces off walls, ceilings, floors and chairs — three times longer than it should.”
Prosecutors, defense attorneys, judges, court reporters and even jurors have complained that they cannot hear what is being said in court because of the poor acoustics — even if the speaker is standing a few feet away.
BAI recommended the county spend about $120,000 on improving the acoustics in the two district courtrooms, including adding sound-dampening materials on ceilings and walls, double-paned glass windows, and a sound system to amplify speakers.
In a prior interview, Stasny said that the acoustic improvements are needed to avoid a lawsuit.
She said San Patricio County is being sued by an attorney because of the poor acoustics of its courtrooms.
“This is a liability issue,” Stasny said previously. “San Pat is being sued because it does not meet acoustical standards, and we know through an acoustical study that we authorized that we do not meet acoustical standards.”