NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - County commissioners in Nacogdoches are trying to relieve a few burdens from the taxpayers. This week, they proposed a resolution in opposition of unfunded State mandates. They hope this will help prevent further mandatory government programs from being imposed on the county without necessary state funding.
“This is an effort by a number of counties across the state," said Nacogdoches County Judge Greg Sowell. "It came through Texas Association of Counties that we’re all members of.”
Nacogdoches County Judge Greg Sowell says that these state-mandated services end up costing county taxpayers approximately $7,900,000; almost half of the county budget. These are services like housing parole violators of the state.
“It’s up to the local level for those people to be picked up and obviously when they are, they’re housed at the county jails,” Sheriff Jason Bridges said.
Bridges says that it costs roughly $35 a day for a prisoner to be kept at the county jail and that most of those arrested for breaking parole have to be kept at the jail for months at a time.
“Sometimes we see that they’ll put them back on parole, sometimes they’ll ship them off to prison,” Bridges said. “More often than not they’ll put them back on parole after they’ve sat here an extensive amount of time.”
There are other state-mandated services as well.
“Well, of course, indigent defense. That’s a big one, where we have to – on the county level – we have to pay for court-appointed attorneys for people in state in district courts,” Sowell said.
Sowell and the commissioners hope that by joining other counties in this resolution, Texas Legislature will begin to ease up on mandates that require funding from county taxpayers.
“If you’re gonna mandate us to do something, you need to send the money with it,” Sowell said.