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DA asking for community show of support at budget hearing
JEFFERSON COUNTY - Letter from DA Cory Crenshaw
I would appreciate your help in spreading the word around regarding my budget hearing in Commissioners Court on Tuesday, July 22, at 9:45. I think a packed room of supporters will show our county leaders that the community is proud of the work ...coming out of their DA's office and they want to see it continue.
As you are aware, my office is working diligently on a variety of new programs to make our community safer and hold those responsible who have abused the public's trust.
The DA's office proposed budget for 2014-2015 calls for an $840K increase over the previous budget which is almost 15%. Of that increase, $508K is mostly for 4 positions (2 new attorneys, a new forensic accountant and continued funding for a task force investigator). With benefits, the $508K increase becomes nearly $750K. The remaining increase in my budget (around $100K) is for new computers, court costs and minor equipment.
Not only are we working on several matters before the task force, but the state gave us an unfunded mandate with the Michael Morton Act. Compliance with this act requires significant increases in resources to be sure our discovery obligations are met. We need additional personnel and computers (most of our computers are from 2006 and are severely outdated). Other programs such as No Refusal to help deter drinking and driving, and the civil gang injunction will require resources as well. This is all in addition to prosecuting the 10,000 plus cases pending in the office.
Keep in mind that I am always looking for ways to save the county money and increase revenue from sources other than taxpayers. This can be achieved as a result of higher fines on criminal cases, increased efforts to seize assets of criminals, and helping to clear the backlog of criminal cases which significantly reduces costs.
The work we are doing is too important for public safety and to ensure that Jefferson County is a place people want to move to and raise a family. I certainly hope that the money we are investing in criminal justice issues today will come back to the county in the form of higher property values, more jobs and a justice system that people have restored their faith.
Finally, I am proud to report that Bob Wortham fully endorses the budget requests and will continue to build upon the positive changes made in the DA's office and clean up this community. He was invited by the commissioners to attend and will join me Tuesday in the budget hearing.