The Hays County Commissioners Court voted to approve funding for a Public Defender's Office at its Aug. 24 meeting.
There were numerous testimonies from speakers in support of the PDO. Speakers expressed that the establishment of a Public Defender's Office is a necessity as well as an investment for the community.
The court voted to allocate up to $5 million in American Rescue Plan funding toward the creation of the PDO.
"With that extra money, I would love with all my heart to see us finish what I started which is funding the Public Defender's Office," Becerra says. "The money is right there."
The court also voted to proclaim September 2021 as Emergency Preparedness Month for the county. This proclamation comes in response to past disasters and incidents within the county.
The proclamation will offer online resources as well as a preparedness fair hosted by the Hays County Office of Emergency Services on Sept. 11 at the Hays CISD Performing Arts Center.
“Preparing should always take place on a regular basis,” Emergency Services Director Mike Jones says. “If we make [preparing] a habit, then we’ll always be prepared for anything that comes our way ... it’s not just the basic tenets of food, water, shelter, travel, communication, it’s having a plan for your family."
As part of Emergency Preparedness Month, the county intends to initiate 30 ways for 30 days to help citizens of Hays County to be better prepared for a natural disaster. Each day, the county will highlight a need, an item or a plan, online and on the county's social media platforms.
The commissioners also approved the execution of a contract with the Department of State Health Services for $400,000 that will go toward the COVID-19 Health Disparities Grant Program.
An agreement between the county and Texas State for costs of the Tyler Technologies’ New World Computer Aided Dispatch and Records Management System was approved by the commissioners.
The final budget workshop for the Hays County 2022 fiscal year took place after the meeting. Both the Sheriff’s Office and the Child Protective Board expressed their financial needs for the upcoming year.
The workshop was paused while requests were prepared so they could later be reviewed and approved after the meeting.
“What we’ll do with this workshop pause is allow the auditor’s office to run the numbers of the recommendations, suggestions, the asks, the articulations that you have seen in court for us to look at," Becerra says.
The Hays County Commissioners Court meets every Tuesday at 9 a.m. For more information visit its website.