Constables to increase manpower, warrant collection
By LPR Staff
For some time, the Caldwell County Constables have been working together toward a solution to a growing manpower problem.
According to constables” statements during the Caldwell County Commissioners Court meeting on Monday, the offices are not sufficiently staffed to fulfill the responsibilities of both performing their e
nforcement and civil service duties and collecting on outstanding warrants.
“These guys are unpaid and don”t always show up at once,” said constable Victor “Smitty” Terrell when approaching the court to make the request. “We”re all so busy serving warrants and civil process that we aren”t able to collect on the warrants.”
Working from his home, one reserve deputy from Precinct 3 was able to collect $4,000 in unpaid warrants. The constables used the example to show the Court that the benefits of allowing an increase in manpower would far outweigh the costs.
The constables also mentioned that they hope to work together with the sheriff”s department in the near future to institute a Caldwell County Warrant Roundup.
“It sounds to me like three of the constables have gotten together and made a plan,” said Commissioner Tom Bonn. “They”re asking us to help them execute, and I think we should.”
Originally, the constables had requested the ability to appoint up to five unpaid deputies without having to ask for further approval by the Court. After a great deal of discussion and compromise, the Court agreed to allow each of the four constables to appoint up to four deputies.
During a budget workshop, the commissioners discussed possible tax rates for the coming fiscal year. Preliminary figures showed an effective rate of .5727 per $100 of valuation. This is the tax levy that the county would have to impose to collect the same revenue as last year. However, budget changes may call for an increased tax rate for the coming fiscal year. At their regular meeting on Aug. 22, the Court will discuss tax rates. Beginning in September, the Court will hold a series of discussions and public hearings before they vote on the final tax rate on Sept. 19.
In brief Court news:
The commissioners declined to reinstate an outdoor burning ban. The opinion of the Court is that there has been sufficient rainfall over the last weeks to reduce wildfire danger. However, the ban can be instituted at any time should dry conditions worsen.
Another county resident has been approved for a septic tank installation under a USDA Housing Preservation Grant. According to Kasi Miles with the county health enforcement department, the recipient has already been cited for failure to comply with septic regulations. Sufficient funds remain from the grant for one more septic installation.
The Court awarded a bid to Smith Contracting, Inc., out of Austin for road repair. The contract will be paid with grant funds received after last fall”s disastrous flooding.
The county is on track to be under budget this year for indigent health care expenses. County Judge H.T. Wright said that total spending for indigent health care was $285,000 thus far, out of a $297,000 budget.
The county paid bills in the amount of $84,206, including $1,355 in indigent legal defense.