Editor’s Note: In last week’s Commissioners Court article, there were some quotes that were not correct. Here are the corrected quotes, as determined by listening to the recording of the meeting provided by the Blanco County Clerk’s office.
Bob Shelton said, “During the fiscal year of 2011, 2012 the new jail had been opened, and there was no proper way a proper budget could be estimated for the new facility and the personnel that were added to run it. During the budget process for fiscal year 2012/2013, we tried to estimate the cost based upon a partial year operation of the facility. The Court saw fit to reduce the amount of funding for this current fiscal year, and that probably has resulted in a $219,000 shortfall.” (Shelton explains that the loss of income is attributed to the cancellation of inter-local agreements with Llano, San Saba and Lampasas counties.)
Shelton went on, “Overtime funding has always been very contentious. This line item has traditionally covered vacation and operational overages. Every citizen of Blanco County that I have talked to suggested that they are willing to pay higher taxes if they can be assured that those higher taxes are going toward the Sheriff’s office.”
Chelita Riley, “I know you’ve increased taxes, property taxes, for I think, the fourth year in a row, but I would suggest that you’re going to have to find other ways to find revenue other than property taxes, and ways to promote business. I encourage you to look for ways on the positive side, rather than just raise taxes, and, also, cutting the expenses of one of the most critical functions of the county government, and that is providing safety to our citizens. I am totally against any cut in the sheriff’s budget or the jail....I’m also asking that you re-look at what you pay our law enforcement here. We’re going to have a turning door as long as we do that; if we don’t show them the respect they deserve, we’re not going to have the officers here.”
Sheriff Bob Morgan said, “Let me see if I’ve got this correct now. The changes you want to make in my budget, which also pertains to the jail, is you want to discontinue the two new jailer positions, correct? Combine jailer and dispatcher positions, but keep the same amount of budget. If you can make changes, I’d like to request change. I’d like to keep one new jailer, in the other jailer position that you want to discontinue; I’m going to ask for a dispatcher, plus I want my part-time employee reinstated. Plus, I’d like to have, in addition to the overtime budget that you allocated, $14,000 for the sheriff’s department, and $16,000 for the...jail, I guess, I’d like that increased by $5,000 each. This overtime is inadequate.”
Jennifer Shoemaker addressed the overtime pay issue. Shoemaker said, “We’re not gonna make it, because we are 24 hours, 365 days a year, it’s not going to cover it. [According to] the numbers I ran this morning, for NetData that are billed out.....came up to $175,000...that we as a county will be losing if there’s not any way to re-address this. The jail was built with that in mind [inter-local agreements].”
Marian Hoy, “I’ve been in law enforcement for 30 years. I know what happens with budgets. If you don’t have officers in place....to take care of the security that this sheriff has set up for us, we’re going to start having sexual assaults, burglaries, auto thefts, you name it. Be careful with our budget, please.” “I am six hours away from getting my second masters in correction. I can make a report to you, if you let me, I can prove why this isn’t a good budget.”