Nacogdoches Co. budget spares taxpayers, not workers

NACOGDOCHES COUNTY, TX (KTRE) - The proposed Nacogdoches County budget is directly affecting the lives of workers, volunteers and public servants. The taxpayer is spared.

All efforts to save jobs in a proposed budget failed.

"Road and bridge will lose five positions," said County Commissioner Jim Elder. "The sheriff's department loses 4 and the Teen Court program will be eliminated."

"For those of you who don't know me, I'm Chris Borel," the road and bridge employee said. "I'm one of those that's going to be on the chopping block."

Understandably, the road and bridge driver voiced frustration for himself and four co-workers.

"The bottom line to this is if we had better management on this we wouldn't have to be chopping anybody," Borel said.

Courthouse security could be compromised. Its proposed certified peace officers, assigned to public safety, will be replaced with outsourced licensed security guards.

"We hope to offer them vacancies that we may have in other areas, but it's certainly not going to be anywhere near the same duties or the same pay grade that they're at right now," said Sheriff Thomas Kerss.

The court also proposes to cut funding to volunteer fire departments with the ability to collect taxes.

"I was expecting that our funds would be cut to some degree," said Bobby Brashears of Lilbert Looneyville VFD. "However, I wasn't expecting that it would be cut out entirely."

Then Justice of the Peace David Perkins provided one last proposal to save a 14-year-old teen court program.

"Bottom line, it benefits our youth," Perkins said.

Commissioners do point out that there will be no reduction in work hours for other employees as originally proposed. And the county judge notes a vow was kept to taxpayers.

"We did not raise taxes," Judge Joe English said. "This is the fifth year in a row."

How long that commitment can be promised is as uncertain as the future of Nacogdoches county employees.

Tomorrow commissioners traveling to Austin will learn how state laws determine the value of minerals.

A drop in prices is blamed for the county budget shortfall.

On Friday, one last budget workshop will tackle proposals to help the volunteer fire department pay off a building note and save teen court.

The court is pulling $1.5 million from reserve funding.

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