Tuesday, February 26, 2013

McLennan 'Not far from running a debtors' prison'

Taxpayer battles tax increase

Waco – McLennan County's jails are overcrowded because “There are a large number of people in jail awaiting trrial and the media portrays it as a bunch of violent criminals who would prey on society if not in jail,” said Randall Scott Gates in remarks to the McLennan County Commissioners Court.

“The reality is there are many who are charged with non-violent offenses, but are too poor to pay a bondsman. McLennan County, gentlemen, is not far from running a debtors' prison.”

An acitvist, citizen journalist, and former peace officer who still holds a certification, Mr. Gates estimated that “outside care” of prisoners housed in the Jack Harwell Detention Center will cost a whopping $6.5 million in the coming fiscal year. He called that a “two-fold injustice.”

Among his recommendations:

Fire the jail magistrate and assign the County Judge to perform his current duties.

Return budget making duties to the office of the County Judge

Discover why so many non-violent offenders are serving time, the extenuating circumstances of their crimes. He said that will be hard to do because “getting information out of this county is exceedingly difficult.”

Allow himself, and others, to address the Court during consideration of agenda items, with advance notice to department heads who would like to respond to questions or engage in dialogue about matters.

“If I don't know what I am talking about, any of those should make me look like an idiot in short order. If not, we may find a way to completely avoid a tax increase,” he concluded.


  1. By statute the Budget Office had to be moved out of the County Judge's when the county population went above 225,000.

  2. It would be illegal to return the budget duties to the County Judge. I pointed out his job responsibilities were reduced while his budget was increased at the same time. I estimated the cost for outside care of prisoners would be 6.5M for the current budget.

  3. The next to last sentence speaks for itself

  4. The commissioners court is the same as went LEWIS was the county judge,we need a new commissioners court,Ben Perry and Lester Gibson need to go and a new Judge.Ben just closed a fishing hole and never comes to court,where does he work? Check it out legendary,you would be shocked.