Commissioners approve regular grant requests

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Indigent defense costs Gregg County about $2 million each year, but a grant from the State of Texas helps alleviate some of those costs.

Each year, the Gregg County Commissioners Court applies for an indigent defense grant for help with the expense of defending those who otherwise would not have legal defense.

The grant ranges from $40,000 to $80,000, Gregg County Judge Bill Stoudt said, but the funding has decreased over the years.

How much Gregg County receives each year depends on the state legislature and how many counties apply for the state-funded grant.

Stoudt said the county has been applying for the grant since he was elected county judge in 2003, and he expects to continue applying each year. According to the grant resolution approved Monday, Stoudt is the authorized official to apply for, accept, decline, modify or cancel the grant application or other paperwork associated with the grant.

The resolution says the program is intended to “assist the county in the implementation and the improvement of the indigent criminal defense services in this county.”

Unanimously, the commissioners accepted two grant awards from the governor’s office’s criminal justice division: One $49,093 grant for the FY18 Victims Assistance Grant Program and another $74,801 for the FY18 Violence Against Women Prosecution Project.

Also during the meeting, the commissioners approved budget renewals for legal and child welfare services between the county and Texas Department of Family and Protective Services and seven funding agreements with area organizations.

Commissioners also approved a resolution authorizing the county to apply for a $3,000 grant from the East Texas Council of Governments for the Regional Solid Waste Program that will fund county-wide clean up costs by covering the rental fees for dumpsters in the county’s four precincts three times a year.

New water lines will be placed along five Precinct 3 roads (Goforth, FM 3053, Ronnie Brown, Old Highway 31 and Fairmont Drive) where new homes are being built.

Although Pct. 3 Commissioner Gary Boyd was not present at Monday’s meeting, the Commissioners Court moved forward and approved with a 4-0 vote, a change order to the Pct. 3 building project. The changes, which alter the roof and panels, will come at no additional cost to the county to complete the project estimated to cost $197,426.

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