Precinct 4 constable, JP discuss need for new office building
Precinct 4 Constable Don Rich and Justice of the Peace Bridget Smith addressed the Cass County Commissioners Court during its budget workshop about Precinct 4’s need for a new building.
Rich described how the current building situation was supposed be temporary -- the portable buildings were acquired through Texas Department of Public Safety.
“This all started out as temporary -- let’s do this until we can do better,” said Rich.
“The building is two portable buildings tied together and portable buildings are not made to run 40 hours a week.”
The constable went on to explain that the ceiling is falling down and there are potholes in front of the entrance because the building is on an old gravel storage site.
“Look at the county’s interest, look at the county’s liability, the trash dump is only 50 yards behind us and while we are having court the flies are overwhelming,” said Rich. “We are constantly replacing air conditioning units -- there is not insulation, there is maybe two-inch walls on these portable buildings. Every year we are having to replace air units because they can’t keep up.
“We have attorneys that come from out of town and they look at it and say, ‘you gotta be kidding me’ -- it’s a disgrace to this county”
Rich spoke about possible vacant buildings in Atlanta that would be suitable for the Precinct 4 justice of the peace and constable to operate from.
“There are several buildings that are vacant -- I know of two buildings that are being looked at right now and there may be more than that I am not aware of,” said Rich. “We just want decent working conditions.”
“We don’t want to rush into anything because that’s when mistakes are made, we just want to know something is going to be done and we will move forward in the right direction. We don’t want it to get locked out of the budget for another year and have to wait until next October.”
Smith expressed her concerns as well. “I agree with what he said,” Smith said, “and my concern is, almost every day we are having a problem and they are portable buildings, they are not made to last forever and now we have a wasp problem -- they are everywhere.”
Cass County Judge Becky Wilbanks announced at the budget workshop on July 25 that there would be a theme to this year’s budget planning.
“We are going to have a theme at workshop this year and it is going to be go forward with a fine-tooth comb,” said Wilbanks. She then handed each commissioner a fine-tooth comb and said, “This is a symbol of what we are going to do, go through this budget with a fine-tooth comb.” The workshop lasted several hours as the judge and commissioners examined budget matters.