CSCD

WEATHERFORD — A county official says more money is needed to oversee the growing number of people who avoid jail by participating in community supervision.

The Parker County Community Supervision{s} and Corrections Department has seen tremendous growth, to the point where two people are supervising more than 450 bond cases. That, coupled with a loss of fees, prompted CSCD Director Michael Stack to ask the county to support funding in the amount of $300,000 per year.

"We cannot continue funding [the CSCD Bond Program] through our office anymore," Stack told commissioners Monday. "We cannot hire anybody else, there's no funding and no stability, and I'm asking for your help.

"It's to the point where I can't cover it anymore, and I believe it's becoming a public safety issue."

When the supervisions and corrections department sets a bond, they set conditions on those individuals, for example, GPS monitoring.

The office tries to collect a $60 monthly fee from those individuals, but "a lot of people aren't paying their fees and are declared indigent," Stack said.

"If they're indigent, how do they get out on bond," Precinct 4 Commissioner Steve Dugan asked.

Stack said he was unable to answer that.

He added that since 2012, the department has only received $62,000 from the county, as it is something not usually requested.

"We felt this needed to be brought before the court and let y'all know immediately what the situation is," Parker County Judge Pat Deen said. "We continue to increase in population — and with that, crime — and this is one of those things that's not going away."

Bail reform is one of the topics to be addressed during the current Texas Legislative Special Session, with similar types of conversation going on in counties throughout.

"Some [programs] have been funded since Day 1, but a lot of them are operating like us on fees," Stack said.

Dugan expressed concern at asking taxpayers to pick up the tab for those persons out on bond, and asked if there was an alternative.

"You could start your own bond program run strictly by the county," Stack answered.

Precinct 3 Commissioner Larry Walden noted the overlap in budget sessions, as the county's budget year ends at the end of September.

"We recognize the value that this brings to the people of Parker County, but the reasons we're asking these tough questions is because we're talking about money," he said.

Dugan asked if Stack has enough money to carry the program over until October.

"Yes sir, we wouldn't even post those new positions until September and bring them on in October," he said.

Commissioners took no action on the item, with a note to bring the topic up again at a future meeting.

The court Tuesday also expressed reservations regarding a final plat for a subdivision to be known as River Ranch on the Brazos consisting of 100 acres, split up into 55 lots, located off of New Tin Top Road with well water in Precinct 3. 

"These folks originally reached out and were looking at putting in a public water supply system, but figured that wouldn't work," Doug Shaw, general manager of the Upper Trinity Groundwater Conservation District, said.

A solution has been proposed with every two lots sharing one well, which is within guidelines of having a two-acre minimum to be able to drill a well.

Precinct 2 Commissioner George Conley said it wasn't a good idea, running the risk of the two lots bickering over ownership of the well.

"It's not a well problem, it's a people problem that bothers me," he said. "It all sounds good on paper, but when something happens, they argue about who's paying what."

Shaw said there would be a shared-well agreement filed with the county clerk, addressing items such as who pays for when the pump goes out, or they have to drill a new well to replace the old one.

"Based on the draft of the agreement, each owner would pay 50 percent, and everytime a lot sells, they would have to update that and file it with the county clerk," he said.

Dugan said it could place a burden on the clerks having to file the agreements and the justice of the peace courts if they have to sort things out.

Since all of the plat requirements were met, County Attorney John Forrest said commissioners had a "ministerial duty" to approve it. 

Walden recommended the item come back on a future agenda, with the developer present so commissioners could ask questions. The court took no action.

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