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Trinity County Sheriff warns of future funding crises

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Countyseal 250 08192121By Tony Farkas
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GROVETON — Trinity County Sheriff Woody Wallace told the Commissioners’ Court that unless something is done, there will be a population problem at the county jail.

At a budget workshop during the regular Commissioners’ Court meeting on Aug. 10, Wallace said there were two areas of his budget that needed additional funding — the jail and vehicles.

Wallace said that even though the office contracted with Enterprise Fleet earlier this year, all vehicles are on back-order, and he believes the county should put in additional funds for purchases — at least $125,000 — even if they continue with the lease program.

Currently, the fleet of Sheriff’s Office vehicles are averaging 200,000 to more than 300,000 miles driven, he said, and they need 10 patrol vehicles and two transport vans.

Wallace also said that all of the jails this county contracts with to house prisoners has informed him that they cannot take any more. Also, most counties are looking to increase their per day jail fees, some up to $75 per day.

“We are fixing to be in a huge bind,” he said.

Wallace said that years ago, he mentioned that the county will need to build a jail, but was told to wait until the funds for courthouse renovations were repaid. That was done this year, he said.

“If we’re going to operate the little jail we have, we need repairs; everything about it is old,” he said. 

Wallace said he had no solutions, and was looking for guidance.

Separately, the county tabled two items pertaining to the FY 2021-22 budget: approval of the property list from the County Appraisal District, and approval of a new salary schedule, which Commissioner Neal Smith, who was chairing the meeting in County Judge Doug Page’s absence, said needed some tweaking before approval.

In other business, the county:

  • approved a title change for 911 Addressing Coordinator Jolynn Wars to be in line with DETCOG;
  • appointed County Treasurer Bob Dockens as the county’s representative for the U.S. Department of Treasury Coronavirus Local Fiscal Recovery Funds;
  • declared 10 lots in the Trinity Cove subdivision as public nuisances;
  • approved bids of $40,079 and $6,950 for Waters Construction for chip and seal paving of Pinecrest Drive;
  • approved an agreement between Road District 3 and Darren Smith for rock and clay;
  • approved the addition of about ½ mile of Reggie Lane to the Precinct 1 road inventory;
  • approved the annual agreement with Lubbock County for a public defender for capital cases;
  • approved optional county road and bridge fees;
  • designated County Commissioner Mike Loftin as supervisor to any grant administrator hired by the county; and
  • drew lots of county employee names for a salary grievance committee.

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