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County approves new jail positions

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Trinity Countyseal 200By Tony Farkas
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GROVETON — The Trinity County Commissioners Court approved five new full-time positions for the jail, but not without concerns about the underlying costs.

At its regular meeting on Dec. 26, the court was informed that the jail was granted a variance to house up to 15 inmates instead of seven, which would help save money as the county would not have to pay to have them housed in other facilities.

However, with the additional prisoner count, the Sheriff’s Office needs an additional four jailers to meet state standards, which prompted Commissioner Neal Smith to say that any savings realized by moving inmates back to Groveton will be erased by the costs of hiring new employees.

Smith also said he was under the impression the jail only needed two additional employees.

“The only good thing to come from this is (Sheriff) Woody (Wallace) has four more people to boss around,” he said. “I don’t think all the costs are being considered. It will be a washout.”

During his monthly report, Wallace said the jail was averaging 54 inmates a day, and problems with court cases being reset keep the jail population up.

He also said that he has a problem sending Trinity County money to other counties.

“We are paying for other people’s jails,” Wallace said. “If we want to do the county a service, we need to be in the inmate business.”

Smith expressed his frustration with the court system, and even said the county should treat inmates like the governor does immigrants — ship them off to Austin and turn them loose.

However, Smith made the motion to approve the new positions.

“I want it said we won’t save any money,” he said. “Woody, you got your way again.”

In other business, the county:

•tabled action on selling Mack trucks and purchasing new vehicles for the Road and Bridge departments;

•approved applying for grants including homeowner reconstruction assistance, purchasing generators, and equipment for the Sheriff’s Office;

•approved an increase in the mileage reimbursement rate from 65.5 cents to 67 cents; and

•declared material from a demolished building as surplus to be sold.

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