Fees, fines, commissions 30% of budget
Frank Summers
Milam County Judge
Milam County Court misdemeanor cases account for financial revenue for the county. Fees, fines and commissions make up over 30 percent of the annual county budget. So, I guess you might be able to say that crime does pay at least for county government.

The convicted defendants in Milam County Court pay back society for their misdeeds with more than money.

Those that receive probation pay more than just a fine and court costs. Their monthly probation fees provide funding for the Adult Probation Office. They also pay for the costs of educational classes that they are required to take as a condition of their probation.

They also return value to the community through Community Service Restitution (CSR). As a condition of misdemeanor probation probationers have to perform a certain number of CSR hours. These community service hours are completed during the term of their probation and spread across many areas of Milam County.

Currently there are 97 approved agencies in the county that utilize CSR workers. These agencies, or organizations include cemetery associations, community associations, and other groups throughout Milam County.

Unfortunately due to the rules religious groups are not eligible for the services provided by CSR workers.

In November and October there were over 1800 hours of community work performed by probationers.

Some of the groups that benefited from CSR included Bea’s Kitchen, Burlington VFD, and Cameron Headstart. The Rockdale Chamber of Commerce, Rockdale Girl Scouts, the City of Minerva and some of the county offices also benefited from the efforts of CSR workers.

In October, 1,157.25 CSR hours were put back into the community. In November 649.50 hours of CSR were completed on community projects.

The projects involve many different tasks. Some are as simple as cleaning up after a parade or weekend event, and others involve more technical projects utilizing skilled workers such as plumbers, painters or electricians that might be on probation.

I have been asked several times how do these hours relate dollars back to the community. That of course depends on the project involved. In one instance where an electrician wired in a number of light fixtures for the county as a CSR project, it amounted to a savings of over $1,000.

The adult probation office does have a formula that they use to calculate monthly savings to the community. Based on their data in October of this year a total of $8,390.07 was returned to the community through CSR hours. In November the total value of the community service to the community was $4,708.87.

As you can see these CSR hours do add up to some real value for the community.

Not all agencies are eligible for CSR workers. If you are interested in the status of your group or organization contact Polly Hauk. She is the CSR coordinator for Milam County and can discuss the eligibility requirements with you. She is also the contact person for scheduling CSR workers.

You can contact Polly at 254- 697-7022.

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2010-12-16 digital edition

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