The Early City Council unanimously agreed Tuesday evening to contract with a private law firm in an effort to recoup roughly $500,000 in unpaid court fines, fees and associated costs.
Police Chief David Mercer told the council he had been “exploring options” in addressing the current warrant situation. “We have a large number of Class ‘C’ traffic warrants,” Mercer said. “Some of these warrants date back several years. The total of those fines comes to just under half a million dollars.”
Anita Chapman, client services coordinator with Round Rock law firm McCreary, Veselka, Bragg and Allen said the firm charges 30 percent for their collection efforts. “That 30 percent is not charged to the city,” Chapman explained. “The city adds that percentage to the existing fines and fees.”
Chapman said the firm, using several search engines, finds people and sends letters and makes phone calls in an attempt to collect. “Usually, when they get a letter from an attorney, they get scared and call,” Chapman said. “We don’t harass them. We aren’t ugly with them. We try to work out a payment plan.”
Law enforcement arrests and reports released Tuesday, March 10, 2015.
Monday, March 9
*4:48 AM – Brownwood Police were called to the 1700 block of Good Shepherd Drive regarding a vehicle being driven erratically. This call led to the arrest of the driver, identified as Dakota Cross for driving while intoxicated 2nd.
* 7:41 AM – A Brown County Sheriff’s deputy responded to Hi-Way Auto Parts on N. Hwy 279 to a report of an attempted break in. According to the report, the complainant reported damage to the scrap yard gate upon her arrival around 7:30 a.m. Damage to the gate was estimated at around $5000, the report states.
*1:53 PM – A Brownwood Police Department Animal Control officer was dispatched to the 2400 block of Avenue B regarding animal cruelty. According to the report, the officer located two dogs tied inside of a backyard without any sign of food being present. A note was left on the door for the animals’ owner to contact Animal Control, the report states. If these instructions are not followed, the department will start seizure proceedings, the report states.
*Bangs Police arrested 25-year-old Kavin Lee Bowers of Coleman for driving while license invalid.
*Brown County Sheriff’s Office arrested 29-year-old Albert Cantu of Bangs on a warrant related to possession of a dangerous drug.
After saving over $1 million from the expected cost of construction of cells at the City of Brownwood’s landfill, excess funds will soon be used to fund four capital projects at the landfill. The cost of the projects, totaling $215,000, was approved unanimously by the council and will be paid from excess proceeds from the 2013 Certificates of Obligation (CO) for landfill cell construction projects.
Thanks to a very favorable bid from Ranger Excavating, LP of $2,204,035, after paying engineering and issuance costs, the City of Brownwood will have an excess of funds totaling $1,040,000 remaining from the COs. The terms of the CO allows the city to use excess funds for capital improvements at the landfill, so city official came up with four projects that needed funding.
The first project would be a new baler to bale recyclables, primarily paper and plastic. The cost of the new baler is $85,000. The current baler at the landfill is approximately 20-years-old and is not capable for baling newspaper. According to city officials, it is too small, worn out and needs $14,000 in repairs. The city baled 227,774 pounds of cardboard and plastic bottles last year.
The second project is paving recycling center and landfill road maintenance, at a cost of $30,000. City Manager Bobby Rountree stated that one of the chief complaints the city receives is from residents and employees of the recycling center is dust. Although there is a good layer of base, paving these roads would be beneficial to keep dust down and prevent mud when it rains. The landfill road needs repairs and maintenance and there are areas that need a level-up and the entire road needs a seal coat, according to Rountree.
Brownwood City Manager Bobby Rountree announced his intentions to retire from his work with the City of Brownwood at Tuesday’s meeting of the council.
Rountree stated that he plans to retire in June with his last day in the office being June 23, 2015. He stated that he will turn 66 in June and will have seen many city projects completed; including the new fire station, making the timing right for his retirement.
“I have been in the public arena for a total of forty-four years and it is time for me to do other things,” said Rountree in his letter notifying the council of his retirement plans. “I look forward to retirement, but will always be grateful for the experience of serving as Brownwood’s City Manager.”
Law enforcement arrests and reports released Monday, March 9, 2015.
Monday, March 2
*2:20 PM – A Brown County Sheriff’s deputy was contacted by a Brownwood Police officer regarding missing livestock. According to the report, the complainant stated that approximately 22 baby and 8 Boer goats were missing from his property on W. Main Avenue. A possible suspect was named; however, the fencing around the property was noted to be in very poor condition and neighbors stated that the goats escaped from the property on a regular basis, according to the report.
Thursday, March 5
*1:06 AM – Brownwood Police were dispatched to the 2600 block of Crockett Drive, the Brownwood Regional Medical Center emergency room, regarding a female who was acting in a disorderly manner. According to the report, officers were informed of an incident that could possibly be considered child neglect. Information was gathered and the information was documented, the report states.
*8:04 PM – Brownwood Police were called to the 2200 block of Avenue B regarding theft.
Deputies in the Brown County Sheriff’s Department will soon be equipped with body cameras. During Monday morning’s meeting of the Brown County Commissioners, the court approved a $6,498 expenditure for the purchase of the cameras. Monies for the equipment will come from Chapter 59 funds, forfeiture money allotted by the district attorney’s office. After the approval of the expenditure, the Chapter 59 fund balance is $53,500.
Sheriff’s Department Captain Vance Hill discussed the cameras. “It is a video recording system that the deputies will wear on their uniforms. It will take the place of the microphone on their portable radio.” Hill explained the benefit of the equipment. “Anytime they are out of their vehicles speaking with offenders, victims, witnesses - there will be documentation of that contact.” The body cameras will be in addition to the dash cameras mounted in each patrol vehicle.
Hill said purchasing the cameras was crucial. “I think it is important that we have these cameras. A lot of times, we are working these domestics inside of a residence, and our camera is outside in our patrol car not capturing anything. With these cameras, we will have the documented offense or investigation with the deputy.”
Each deputy and patrol sergeant, a total of 11, will be outfitted with the new cameras. Each camera is $475 and equipped with GPS indicators, infrared (for night video) and instant playback. Two smaller cameras, at a cost of $250 each will be purchased for the department’s two narcotics investigators. Hill said each camera could hold roughly four hours of video. Precinct 2 Commissioner Joel Kelton showed his support for the purchase. “The cameras will protect your deputies and everyone involved,” Kelton said. The court’s approval was unanimous.
Law enforcement arrests and reports released Thursday and Friday, March 5-6, 2015.
Wednesday, March 4
*3:31 PM – A Brown County Sheriff’s deputy received notification from an official with the Texas Department of Health about a skunk which tested positive for rabies at a location on Pioneer Road in Brookesmith.
*4:21 PM – A Brown County Sheriff’s deputy met with a complainant who advised that she wanted to criminally trespass a relative from her residence.
*6:17 PM – Brownwood Police were dispatched to the 2400 block of Vine Street regarding a domestic disturbance involving a firearm. According to the report, this call led to the arrest of 25-year-old Harvil Dewayne Hicks of Brownwood for possession of a firearm by felon and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon family violence.
*24-year-old Timothy Glenn Bell was arrested on warrants related to motion to revoke/evading arrest and motion to revoke/theft against elderly individual.
*Brown County Sheriff’s Office arrested 41-year-old Carlos Amado Gonzales of Brownwood on a warrant related to a surety withdrawal/failure to appear/possession of a controlled substance.
*Brown County Sheriff’s Office arrested 32-year-old Willie Franco Hernandez of Brownwood for burglary of a habitation, intend other felony. Hernandez was later released on $25,000 bond.
Law enforcement arrests and reports released Wednesday, March 4, 2015.
Monday, March 2
*8:25 AM – Brownwood Police met with a complainant at the law enforcement center regarding identity theft. According to the report, an unknown suspect(s) are writing checks in the complainant’s mother’s name.
*1:10 PM – Brownwood Police were dispatched to a south Brownwood home regarding a civil matter. According to the report, the complainant stated that her soon to be ex-husband has been using cameras to spy on her in the privacy of her own residence.
Tuesday, March 3
*4:00 PM – A Brown County Sheriff’s Deputy received a call to the juvenile detention facility regarding an escaped juvenile. The officer arrived to find the juvenile was already back in custody. The superintendent of the facility faxed a Texas Juvenile Justice Department directive to apprehend to BCSO and signed an order for the juvenile to be taken into custody by BCSO and transported to the Brown County Jail, which was done without incident, according to the deputy’s report.
*4:44 PM – Brownwood Police were called to Walmart regarding theft. According to the report, a juvenile male suspect was issued a citation for the theft.
Law enforcement arrests and reports released Tuesday, March 3, 2015.
Monday, March 2
*10:53 AM – Brownwood Police responded to a two-vehicle accident at Crockett Drive and US Hwy 377 South. The driver of unit 1, identified as 68-year-old Leetis Wayne Dalton of Bangs, was arrested for driving while intoxicated, according to the report.
*11:04 PM – Brownwood Police were called to the 2800 block of Glen Cove regarding harassment. According to the report, this call led to the arrest of 25-year-old Paul Eli Snyder of Brownwood for two local warrants related to expired registration and public display or consumption of alcohol in state park. Snyder was also issued a trespass warning for this address, the report states.
*A Brown County Sheriff’s deputy was dispatched to FM 3100 regarding a suspicious vehicle which had been parked on the side of the roadway for over an hour and a half. According to the report, the deputy arrived to find a Chevrolet Tahoe that appeared to have driven off of the road and had gotten stuck. A male subject was slumped over the steering wheel asleep, the deputy reported. When the deputy woke the male, identified as 37-year-old Gregory Lamar Jones of Brownwood, he could smell a strong odor of alcohol and attempted to administer standardized field sobriety tests, however, the driver stated that he was “too inebriated,” to complete the tests, according to the report. Jones was arrested and charged with driving while intoxicated.