The biggest race in Bexar is for the top job, County Judge. In Texas, the position of county judge is very important. The state's constitution entrusts the elected official with vast power over the county's budget and administration. As a result the position well compensated. Unlike San Antonio's city council, which pays councilors $20 per meeting and the Mayor a larger stipend, the county pays its commissioners a full-time salary, with county judge making in excess of $120,000.
This year's race marks a diverging vision for Bexar County.
The city of San Antonio wants Bexar county to start paying its fair share of the San Antonio Public Library's bills. As San Antonio Public Library director spelled out on our program late last month, 19 percent of the public library system users are non-city residents who live in the county, so the county should pick up 19 percent of the tab, basically doubling Bexar's contribution from around $3.8 million to 6.3 million.
Judge Nelson Wolff thinks that isn't going to work.
State District Judge Peter Sakai increased adoption of foster children in Bexar County by 1000 percent from 1995 to 2005. He is proposing a new pilot program to reduce the amount of time it takes a child abuse case to reach a resolution.
A family court judge is asking Bexar County to help fund a pilot program that would streamline cases in the family courts. Judge Peter Sakai hopes to add two court managers and other elements to the program that will help connect the dots with other parts of the legal system.
The child abuse and neglect court in Bexar County accounts for $3.5 million a year in fees for court-appointed attorneys.
"And our system is second only to the total felony courts," Sakai said.
Judge Wayne Christian congratulates a veteran who completed the program in the Bexar Co. Veterans Treatment Court. District Attorney Susan Reed, Bexar Co. Sheriff Susan Pamerleau, and Bexar Co. Clerk Gerry Rickhoff came in support of the program's graduates.
The Bexar County Veterans Treatment Court is reaching the end of its grant funding and its judge is calling on the county to fund the court's ongoing operation.
The court processes hundreds of veterans – many of whom have been awarded the Purple Heart or Bronze Star. It has been operating out of County Court 6 for the last four years, working with veterans accused of misdemeanor crimes to get them out of the offending cycle and help them back into productive lives.
The Bexar County Hospital District has requested a tax rate for the coming year with no increase in the tax rate itself. But the health system is counting on rising local property values to sustain its budget over the coming year.
The hospital district, now known as University Health System, submitted a proposal to Bexar County commissioners with a tax rate that is unchanged from last year.
The San Antonio Public Library and the city are hoping to get more funds from Bexar County to run its public library system -- a lot more money. SAPL would like the county to pay $6.38 million, which is nearly double the $3.78 million the county already contributes.
Bexar County officials joined veterans in downtown San Antonio Thursday to honor the community's war heroes.
More than 100 people attended a ceremony to add 51 names to the Purple Heart memorial at the Cadena Reeves Justice Center.
August 7 was Purple Heart Day, and members of the Military Order of the Purple Heart Alamo Chapter 1836, gathered in front of the Cadena Reeves Justice Center on Dolorosa to pay their respects to 51 war heroes whose names were added to the memorial this year.
Visits at the Bexar County Jail are conducted in one of three rooms like this one with six to eight stools available for one visitor at a time. The room becomes crowded as children or additional visitors for each inmate must stand.
The Bexar County Jail is preparing to change its inmate visiting system from face-to-face visitation to electronic encounters.
The county is investing about $4 million in the system that officials say will improve security, cut down on overtime hours for guards, and help family members visit their loved ones more often.
At the Bexar County Jail on Comal Street, hundreds of inmates have to be shuffled from housing units to special visitation areas where just 18 of them at a time can sit in a face-to-face meeting with their visitor.