Mineral Wells Index, Mineral Wells, TX

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July 10, 2013

JP cash deposits cause heated debate

Discussion breeds no peace for justices

(Continued)

But Watson seemingly stood his ground on the fiscal policy.

“I respectfully disagree,” he directed at some justices. “There is a difference between can’t make a deposit and wont make a deposit. Taxpayers and the county will be at risk if money is held. It’s just not a good situation. You’re asking me to be fuzzy on my job and I can’t do that. My job is to protect the taxpayers, the county and you, as office holders.”

One suggestion was that the JP offices simply not accept cash, as many county offices do not. But considering the large portion of Palo Pinto County citizens who pay fines in cash, justices did not feel comfortable with the idea.

“It’s against my entire grain of being to not take cash,” Humphries said. “I feel like I have to still take the risk of accepting cash.”

A solution judge Hart suggested was extending the deadline to deposit cash  a suggestion Watson later said he was not in favor of.

“The local government code illustrates that the Legislature really wants money to be deposited every day if it can be,” he said. “The commissioners court could make a longer period of time for them to deposit, but that would conflict with my accounting system. And for what reason? That would make an issue with the external auditor; he wouldn’t be happy. So, I don’t know if they’re going to take any additional action.”

Instead, Watson suggested somewhat of a compromise in court.

“I think I would try and dissuade people from using cash,” he said. “If they said, ‘I’m using cash,’ then I would take it and then make the deposit. But if you can dissuade them, not refuse it, but dissuade them, then that limits the trips to the bank you have to make.”

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