MCLENNAN COUNTY (January 27, 2014) On Tuesday night, McLennan County Commissioners will begin discussions that may lead to the possible consolidation of certain Justice of Peace and Constable services within the county.
Talks about consolidating McLennan County’s eight JP offices have bounced around county commissioner’s court for some time.
The issue gained steamed when JP Laster Boone stepped down from Precinct 7 after she was convicted of tampering with governmental documents.
Since Laster Boone’s conviction in October of last year, her seat in Precinct 7 has not been filled and Precinct 1 Place 2 Honorable Walter H. "Pete" Peterson has since taken over her caseload.
Tuesday night’s special agenda meeting will specifically discuss redistricting Justice of the peace/constable lines within the county.
Recent discussions in commissioner’s court suggest consolidating the Precinct 4 China Spring JP office with the one in McGregor, and consolidating the Precinct 2 Mart JP office with the one in West.
It’s an idea that doesn’t sit well with Mayor Pro-Tem of Mart Henry Witt III.
The Justice of the Peace office in Mart doesn't just serve the town's 2400 population, but also 3800 people living between Axtell, Riesel, and Hallsburg.
Witt feels his citizens as well others in Precinct 2 are being stiffed.
"Riesel is about 50 miles away from West and Mart is about 30 to 40 miles away," Witt said.
"Mart is about 60 percent economically disadvantaged. Drive that far? I mean, a tank of gas is a lot to some of the people in the community."
The county is only required by law to have a minimum of 4 JP offices. Tuesday night’s meeting starts at 6 p.m., and is open to the public.
Commissioners may make a move on the matter come Thursday, but until then Witt and others plan to attend the hearing to sound off on the issue.
"These are services we pay taxes for. Our tax rate was raised this past year, so we're going to be getting a less effective and less convenient service for more money," Witt said.