With very little discussion, Ellis County commissioners unanimously approved what has been termed the “Scofflaw Law” for Ellis County. Introducing the action was Constable Pct. 2, Terry Nay.
Nay explained the action would allow the county to enter into a contract with the Texas Department of Transportation where people owing the county monies from unpaid fines, taxes or fees would be prohibited from registering a motor vehicle.
“It is not perfect but it will help collect a lot of the money that is out there,” Nay said.
Asked if there was any discretion about blocking someone who owes the county money,” he said, “It is at the discretion of the county tax assessor/collector whether to waive the action against someone.”
Assistant county attorney Lee Auvenshine said he had no problems with that action when questioned by the commissioners.
Auvenshine clarified that the eligible types of taxes, fees and fines are ones that have gone through the court system, such as unpaid traffic tickets.
The commissioners also unanimously approved a resolution to request the creation of a third district court in the county.
“We must prepare for the future and address the growth in the county,” she said. “While this is not the best economic time to propose the addition to the Legislature, by the next Legislature hopefully we will be in better economic times.”
Describing the current court conditions, Bush said the current court dockets are burdened with the two existing district courts. Auvenshine added to Bush’s comments, saying he has seen information where Ellis County’s district courts have the second highest number of cases per court in the state.
Bush noted that the district courts are state courts and funded by the state. The last district court added to the county was 15 years ago, she said, saying, “We have to plan now for our future.”
The commissioners also discussed the formation of the Ellis County Citizens Advisory Committee in preparation of the redistricting process. The discussions before were limited to how many advisors and how the various precincts would be represented.
With Commissioner Bill Dodson and Dennis Robinson expressing concerns about the population and geographic size of their districts, the suggestion was made for two to three representatives per precinct.
The action agreeable to all of the commissioners was setting a minimum of 10 and a maximum of 15 on the board, with each member of the court having two and no more than three representatives. The action passed unanimously.
The commissioners also heard from Joshua Grimes, a representative of the Prairielands Ground Water Conservation District. Grimes went through the reason for the formation and purpose of the district. He also discussed new guidelines that would have to be followed by water wells being drilled as well as the operation of wells in use.
Commissioner Heath Sims asked about the effect on the small family wells people use for their home, with Grimes saying that the oversight and regulations are being placed mostly on larger capacity wells and water utility districts.
Additional information will be posted on the group website, at the county courthouses and through local media sources, he said.