District Attorney Micheal Murray released a list of felony cases recently heard in Brown/Mills County District Court, Judge Stephen Ellis presiding.
John Simon Armendarez pled guilty to the felony offenses of Possession of a Controlled Substance with Intent to Deliver and Engaging in Organized Criminal Activity and was sentenced to 40 years, Texas Department of Criminal Justice, Institutional Division.
John Phillip Couch pled guilty to the felony offenses of Possession of a Controlled Substance with Intent to Deliver-Drug Free Zone, Possession of a Controlled Substance with Intent to Deliver, Delivery of a Controlled Substance, Possession of a Controlled Substance and was sentenced to 40 years, Texas Department of Criminal Justice, Institutional Division.
Enrique Abraham Pesina pled guilty to the felony offense of Possession of a Controlled Substance with Intent to Deliver and was sentenced to 25 years Texas Department of Criminal Justice, Institutional Division.
Auston Rand Welker
pled guilty to the felony offenses of Possession of a Controlled Substance with Intent to Deliver-Drug Free Zone, Delivery of a Controlled Substance-Drug Free Zone and Engaging in Organized Criminal Activity and was sentenced to 25 years, Texas Department of Criminal Justice, Institutional Division.
CVS Pharmacy, as part of their partnership with Drugfree.org, recently donated a medication disposal unit through a property grant to the Brownwood Police Department.
Brownwood Assistant Chief of Police James Fuller wrote the application for the property grant and was excited to put it into use for the citizens of Brownwood and Brown County.
Brown County Clerk Sharon Ferguson received support from the Brown County Commissioners Monday as she and her office work to implement many changes within her office, including digitizing county records.
Ferguson presented the county clerk’s Records Archival Plan which focuses on the preservation and restoration of documents and records within the clerk’s office. According to Ferguson, just last year, she had 10 years worth of records scanned to a digital format so that they can be more easily searchable and retrievable by computer. This process cost approximately $200,000, according to Ferguson and the funds for this preservation were taken from fees received in her office which are earmarked for preservation and restoration of records.
The Records Archival Plan calls for more scanning of documents, digitizing all public records to help stop deterioration of public documents, creating backup copies of records, storage offsite, and modernizing the office to be able to digitally convert records as they are received so that they are accessible and searchable by computer, according to Ferguson. She stated that she hopes to have all records back to 1972 digitized and be a paperless office by 2016.
According to Ferguson, the State of Texas has mandated that county and district clerks shall implement e-filing of documents by 2016.
Commissioners approved this Records Archival Plan unanimously along with a $2.00 cost recovery fee for e-filing, which will begin on September 29, 2014. This fee will be submitted for each filing submitted, to pay for equipment these offices are going to have to purchase in order to comply, according to Ferguson. Local attorneys were sent letters regarding the proposed fee and links to access training on how to submit e-filings.
Law enforcement arrests and reports released Friday, September 12, 2014.
Wednesday, September 10
*2:31 PM – Brownwood Police were dispatched to Walmart regarding theft greater than $50 less than $500 which had occurred a few days before this date. Items stolen included 13 CDs and a few articles of clothing.
*3:36 PM – Brownwood Police were called to the 3500 block of Rhodes Road regarding the theft of a motor vehicle. According to the report, the complainant stated that her daughter had taken the complainant’s vehicle, left her three children, and did not return for two days.
Thursday, September 11
*7:53 AM – Brownwood Police were dispatched to the 1600 block of Avenue H regarding theft of property equal or greater than $50 less than $500.
*8:30 AM – Brownwood Police were called to the 2600 block of Avenue C regarding a domestic disturbance.
*8:29 PM – Brownwood Police were called to the 300 block of Bluffview Drive regarding terroristic threat. According to the report, the complainant stated that her juvenile daughter had threatened her and she wished to file criminal charges.
The Early Police Department and Texas Rangers have been investigating a case of theft over $20,000 and misapplication of fiduciary funds over the past year according to EPD Chief David Mercer.
Heart of Texas EMS reported to the Early Police Department that they had made a down payment and paid money for equipment and taxes for 2 new ambulances in September of 2013 according to Mercer. The ambulances were to be delivered in December 2013.
The ambulances were purchased through Cross Timbers Emergency Vehicles, which is owned and operated by Daniel Feemster, Mercer said in a report. It was later discovered that the payments for the equipment were never paid to the equipment dealers and part of the money for the purchase of the ambulances was never made to the manufacture, said Mercer.
Law enforcement arrests and reports released Thursday, September 11, 2014.
Sunday, September 7
*A Brown County Sheriff’s Deputy made a traffic stop on a vehicle traveling south on Hwy 183 North. According to the report, the stop was initiated after the driver flicked out a lit cigarette in the roadway, right in front of the deputy. The driver, identified as 21-year-old Christopher Cotton of Brownwood, was advised of the violation and asked to exit the vehicle because he did not have his license on his person. During an investigation and a consensual search of the vehicle, the deputy located a clear baggy which contained 31.4 grams of marijuana inside a Taco Bell cup, the report states. The cup was located next to where Cotton was sitting. Cotton was placed under arrest for possession of marijuana less than 2 ounces.
*A Brown County Sheriff’s deputy was dispatched to the report of a theft. According to the report, a 275 gallon water tank was taken from the complainant’s property sometime between 8:00 a.m. Tuesday morning and 1:45 p.m. on Wednesday.
Tuesday, September 9
*4:13 PM – Brownwood Police responded to the 1300 block of 13th Street regarding the burglary of a habitation. According to the report, several items were stolen from the residence. Some of the items were recovered and returned to the owner, the report states. The investigation is ongoing.
Early City Council adopted the budget for fiscal year 2014/2015, set the 2014/2015 tax rate and amended water and sewer rates at their regular meeting held Tuesday September 9, 2014.
According to City Administrator Ken Thomas, the city adopted a budget of $5,024,000, which is a 9% increase from last year’s budget of $4.986 million. One new expenditure included in the budget is funds to hire a part time paid fireman, said Thomas. This will add approximately $23,000 to the Early Volunteer Fire Department budget. He explained that the position will be staffed from 7:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Monday through Friday. During this time, the fireman will be on call and several members of the EVFD will fill in and work the position.
“This will allow our department to become certified through the Texas Fire Commission. They will be able to do all the things the state requires,” explained Thomas who also confirmed having the certification may also positively affect the city’s ISO (Insurance Services Office) rating.
The tax rate for 2014/2015 will remain $0.5146 per $100 valuation. The effective rate will be $0.5021, which although lower will still net the city the same amount of property tax revenue with the increased property valuations within the city, said Thomas.
Texas State Comptroller Susan Combs released September sales tax allocation numbers this week showing an increase for Brownwood and Early.
The City of Brownwood was up 9.64% in sales tax for the month compared to September of last year. Early was also up with 3.56% as compared to the same month last year. Bangs and Blanket each saw a drop in allocations as compared to the same period in 2013 of -10.01% and -13.27% respectively.
Combs will send cities, counties, transit systems and special purpose taxing districts their September local sales tax allocations totaling $627.8 million, up 9.2 percent compared to September 2013.
"The latest monthly gains were led by remittances from the oil and natural gas, wholesale trade, and retail trade sectors," Combs said. "Fiscal year 2014 ended with total collections at $27.27 billion, up 5.5 percent over the previous year. Growth in both business and consumer spending fostered the gains for the year."
The September sales tax allocation figures represent monthly sales made in July as well as May, June and July sales by businesses that report tax quarterly.
An industrial accident occurred at Kohler Company in Brownwood Wednesday morning, injuring one employee, according to law enforcement officials.
The accident occurred in the PC maintenance project area of Kohler shortly before 9:30 a.m. while a crane was being tested, according to the Brown County Sheriff’s Office. An employee of the plant told officers that the crane had malfunctioned, broke and fell, hitting a female employee.
The woman was responsive at the time of the accident and was transported by ambulance to the emergency room at Brownwood Regional Medical Center.