By Kathi Bliss
According to statistics presented to the Caldwell County Commissioners’ Court on Monday morning, juvenile crime is decreasing throughout Caldwell County.
Juvenile Probation Chief Jay Monkerud made a brief presentation to the Commissioners during an abbreviated regular meeting on Monday, and offered the optimistic news that juvenile crime had fallen off during the 2011 reporting period.
In fact, Monkerud said, his department received 13 fewer felony referrals than they had in 2010. However, he noted, the department did take in more juvenile offenders than in the previous year.
The Juvenile Probation Department served 134 juveniles in 2011, as opposed to 123 the year before. However, across-the-board crime statistics fell, with 13 fewer felony referrals, ten fewer misdemeanor referrals, and ten fewer probation violations.
What’s more, Monkerud said, a grant-funded position meant to supervise community service/restitution programs was more effective last year, providing 4,909 hours of community service with 160 juveniles, where it provided 3,944 hours last year with 187 participants.
Of particular note, Monkerud said, not all juveniles referred to the program are not necessarily Caldwell County residents. Though most of them are, he said, around 10 percent of the department’s clients are from other areas.
Also discussed during the brief meeting was the possibility of contracting services with Heart of Texas Cremation and Burial Service.
Jonathan Snell, a representative from the Dripping Springs-based company, made a presentation to the Court outlining portions of his company’s history, along with spelling out details of their arrangements with Hays and Travis Counties for transportation and cremation services associated with indigent care.
Commissioner John Cyrier suggested that while the presentation was informative, he would prefer to have the possibility of contracting services with Heart of Texas discussed with all the stakeholders in the process, including Indigent Services Coordinator Rhoda Chavira.
The Commissioners also voted to approve a budget amendment in the amount of $500 so the County Treasurer’s Office can purchase a cash counting machine to help execute their duties. Treasurer Lori Rangel-Pompa suggested the purchase was necessary because her office is taking in much more cash than they have in the past.
The Caldwell County Commissioners’ Court meets on the second, third and fourth Monday of each month at 9 a.m. in the Conference and Training Room at the LW Scott Annex, 1403 Blackjack St. in Lockhart. The meetings are open to the public, and interested stakeholders are encouraged to attend.