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WASHINGTON COUNTY NEWS & UPDATE WEEK OF 1/14/24 by JP Beth Coger

Updated: Jan 15


 

Stay safe, everyone, and watch out for those who might need some extra help with this bitterly cold weather, and don’t forget our furry friends, too.


 

COUNTY MEETINGS THIS WEEK:


  1. The Washington County Courthouse is closed today, 1/15/23, in observance of Dr. King’s birthday. Courthouse also closed Tuesday, 1/16/23 due to the road conditions.

  2. Regular Monthly Meeting of Washington County Quorum Court Thursday, 1/18/24, 6:00 PM @ Washington County Courthouse.  There will be a fifteen minute public comment time at the beginning of the meeting where you can address the court on any issue of concern.  Each speaker may speak for up to three minutes.  There will also be a twelve minute public comment period before we vote on any ordinance or resolution.

  Meeting is  in-person only (you must be present to participate), but will be livestreamed here:  https://www.youtube.com/user/washcoar


 

THINGS TO KNOW:

 At last week’s County Services meeting, I attempted to reintroduce my ORDINANCE FOR THE ONLINE PUBLICATION OF RESOLUTIONS, ORDINANCES AND CONTRACTSUnfortunately none of the other JPs would “second” my motion to add it to the agenda, so I didn’t even make it to a vote, much less a discussion.  This was after Judge Deakins and Attorney Lester had refused to just place it on the agenda.  I wanted to bring it up again in part due to the recent  Attorney General Opinion that says “Yes, the quorum court may lawfully require the county clerk to publish ordinances, resolutions, and contracts of the county online.”  See last week’s Newsletter for more background on that. 


Watch the County Services/Finance & Budget meeting where this happened here: https://www.youtube.com/live/LP6yPtIkdxE?si=jMzndK8Du0okKfph


 

 Here’s the full agenda for Thursday’s Quorum Court meeting.  


AGENDA ITEMS TO WATCH:

 Item 9 is the Ordinance to accept $117,953 for the State Criminal Alien Assistance Program (SCAAP).  Here’s a brief explanation of SCAAP.  Here’s a copy of the spreadsheet submitted with the grant application and here’s the two countries of birth with the highest number for the individuals listed:

Marshallese (Pacific Islanders) 109

Mexico 39

This is out of 187 individual inmate records, note, though, some individuals had more than one record submitted because each incarceration of four days or more requires a separate "inmate record."


I don’t believe we should be participating in any program that targets one group of people (immigrants) and if Immigration Control & Enforcement (ICE) doesn’t use the information, then why pay us for it?


Here’s the Department of Justice website that goes into all the details about the SCAAP Grant and what’s required to get it.


 Item 14 AN ORDINANCE AMENDING ORDINANCE 2023-135 TO AMEND THE BUDGET CONTROLS.  This will amend our original 2024 Budget Control Ordinance to limit it to only two times each year – at the March and July QC meetings – when personnel positions, salary changes, title changes, grade changes, etc. and requests for new personnel positions may be brought forward to the full QC.  I’m not sure this is a good idea.  What do you think?  Should we limit these changes to only twice yearly?  When I asked at Tuesday’s meeting why this didn’t go through JESAP before it came to committee, the judge said because there wasn’t a meeting of JESAP this month.  


 Item 17. AN ORDINANCE AMENDING ORDINANCE 2017-44.  As you know, the Criminal Justice Coordinating Committee has been suspended since early last fall. I am sponsoring this ordinance to amend the original ordinance to make more people eligible to serve on the CJCC.  This will allow the judge to appoint designees from various county offices and, most importantly, will increase the membership to include members of the community.  Read more here.  This passed out of committee last week, but barely.  If you want to see the CJCC up and running again, please contact your JP and/all JPs and ask them to support this amendment.  This amendment just broadens the base of prospective members.


 Item18 and Item 19 Two Conditional Use Permits are on their first reading:  AN ORDINANCE RATIFYING A CONDITIONAL USE PERMIT RECOMMENDED FOR APPROVAL BY THE PLANNING BOARD CDS Motorsports and Item 19. AN ORDINANCE RATIFYING A CONDITIONAL USE PERMIT RECOMMENDED FOR APPROVAL BY THE PLANNING BOARD Kindness in Motion.


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WC Planning Board met 1/11/23 Here’s the link to watch the meeting:  https://www.youtube.com/live/XaI3k8_OOH0?si=u_St6p_YRqK2jRlh


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We NEED Your Help!

  • ATTEND THE REGULAR MONTHLY QC MEETING THURSDAY EVENING 1/18/24  6:00 PM. Speak up during public comment time. Visit with the JPs and let them know you do not want your tax dollars spent on jail expansion. Instead you want us to pursue justice reforms: pretrial services; drug addiction treatment; expanded drug court and veterans courts; access to mental health care, more public defenders, better paid public defenders. Read the 2020 Criminal Justice Assessment Study here and learn more.

  • STILL NO PUBLIC ACTION TO APPOINT MEMBERS TO THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE COORDINATING COMMITTEE. Continue to ask Judge Deakins to appoint members to the CJCC and to do so immediately and take necessary steps to see the CJCC is properly appointed and operational. He said at last week's meeting he was having trouble finding people willing to serve. The CJCC wants to bring a pretrial services program to the quorum court for funding, but it must exist in order to do that or anything else. This is too important. If you haven’t called, please do so, or send email, or go by the courthouse and speak to the judge in person. His door is “always open…” that’s what he said during his campaign.  SEE ABOVE FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT MY AMENDMENT TO THE ORDINANCE THAT CREATED THE CJCC TO ALLOW FOR MORE MEMBERSHIP OPTIONS.



  • Contact your JP and set up a time to meet them for coffee or just to get together.  Become a regular voice in their ear and urge them to vote for criminal justice reform and be good stewards of taxpayer dollars.  I write this each week, but it really is important.  That’s how I got started advocating to the court back in 2019.  THIS IS SO IMPORTANT.  CAN YOU TAKE AN HOUR OR TWO AND MEET WITH YOUR JP AND SHARE YOUR CONCERNS OR COMMENTS, OR WHATEVER YOUR THOUGHTS ARE.

  • Share this Newsletter with your friends and neighbors!

  • Write letters to the editor.  letters@nwadg.com

  • Here's link to contact your elected representatives and other county officials: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1tx_nJbsWcStPPtVIzPjzZxd5CBLC06BOUaNuG09JF0c/edit?usp=sharing



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