County amends budget to move staff
By LPR Staff
Much of the discussion during a brief meeting of the Caldwell County Commissioners’ Court on Monday morning centered around relocating staff and reallocating money.
The Commissioners discussed – and ultimately passed – a total of six budget amendments on Monday morning, most of them related to adjusting the budgets
for the Caldwell County Court at Law and the Caldwell County District Attorney’s Office, in order to pave the way for the introduction of a new staff member who will be responsible for fingerprinting misdemeanor offenders in Court.
The new position, which was approved by the Court last year and provided for in the current fiscal year budget, is a reaction to a recent State audit that found that Caldwell County was lacking in one requirement in many criminal cases – obtaining fingerprints from defendants to add to the case files.
According to representatives from District Attorney Trey Hicks’ office, difficulties arose in obtaining fingerprints from those defendants who were never incarcerated, but who instead made court appearances of their own accord. Those defendants, it seems, having never been “booked in” to the Caldwell County Jail, were not fingerprinted.
As a means to bridge the gap and help meet the State’s requirements, the office has made arrangements to acquire a fingerprinting computer and software, and will begin obtaining the fingerprints of misdemeanor defendants while they are in the Caldwell County Court at Law.
Originally, the staff member meant to be assigned to this duty was to be officed in the Courthouse, and under the budget of Court at Law Judge Edward Jarrett. However, according to Hicks’ office, Jarrett asked the position to be transferred to the Caldwell County District Attorney’s Office, where there is more space for the clerk and the equipment.
It was required, then, to transfer the allocated funds from Jarrett’s budget to Hicks’. Additionally, a portion of the salary for that position, which is currently unfilled, was transferred into the “Commissioners’ Court Budget,” allowing the funds to be available for other expenses, should unforeseen, small budget items come to light through the remainder of the budget year.
Another similar amendment followed the termination of a deputy clerk from the Tax Assessor Collector’s office earlier this year. The position, which has been vacant for three months, is expected to be filled in the near future, according to Tax Assessor-Collector Mary Vicky Gonzales.
In other business, the Commissioners reviewed a number of applications from volunteers who wish to serve on a Caldwell County Road Study Committee.
The Committee, which will be headed by Precinct Two Commissioner Fred Buchholtz, is intended with the purpose of examining the county roads and formulating possible ideas and solutions to improving transportation in Caldwell County.
Volunteers for the committee are expected to be approved during the Court’s next regular meeting on March 28. However, individuals interested in serving are encouraged to contact their Precinct’s Commissioner, or Caldwell County Judge Tom Bonn.
In brief news:
The Court opted to leave an outdoor burning ban in place, based on the growing commonality of windy days, and the increasing heat and dryness in the area.
They appointed three Caldwell County residents, Molly Brown, George Duran and Yvonne Duran, to serve on the Caldwell County Historical Commission.
The county paid bills in the amount of $38,547.26, which includes $9,280.20 for indigent legal defense.
The Caldwell County Commissioners’ Court meets on the second, third and fourth Monday of each month at 9 a.m. in the conference room at the Scott Annex, 1403 Blackjack Street in Lockhart. The meetings are open to the public, and citizens are encouraged to attend and participate.