SMITH COUNTY, Texas (KETK) – Smith County voters voted in favor of Proposition A 53.73% to 46.27%, approving a bond that will fund a new courthouse and parking structure.

The bond devotes $160 million for a brand new courthouse and $19 million for a parking garage. The projected tax impact is 3.67 cents, resulting in an increase on tax bills of $73.40 per year for a $200,000 home.

New courthouse construction is set to start in 2024, according to information from Smith County.

Standing in downtown Tyler for almost 70 years, the current Smith County Courthouse was built in 1955. It was built to have two trial courts but currently houses seven.

The Smith County District Attorney Jacob Putman said there are ongoing safety and security concerns since the inmates are seated in the same area as the victims and their families. Smith County officials said the courthouse also has infrastructure problems such as cracks, asbestos and leaking plumbing.

“We are looking for adequate space, but it does say something about how much the citizens care about justice in their case. You come down to a courthouse you are proud of,” Putman told KETK in October.

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