14 positions cut from Travis County as governor eliminates funding

FILE - Inside a jail. (KXAN File Photo)
FILE - Inside a jail. (KXAN File Photo)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Within three days of launching an official fundraising account for Travis County, #StrongerTogether has already raised more than $100,000.

Travis County Judge Sarah Eckhardt along with several other agencies launched the donation site in response to Gov. Greg Abbott cutting $1.5 million in grant money to the county in response to Sheriff Sally Hernandez’ new ICE detention policy. Eckhardt wanted to make sure any donations being made would be managed properly and tax-exempt.

Tuesday, 14 full-time equivalent positions were eliminated by Travis County commissioners. The positions are in grant-funded programs that work with veterans struggling with PTSD and have gotten into trouble with the law, according to Commissioner Brigid Shea, Precinct 2. She says the positions, which are not under the sheriff’s department, keep people out of jail.

“The real crime here is that Gov. Abbott is punishing people who need help because he has a political disagreement with the sheriff,” Shea said, adding, “It’s shameful.”

State Rep. Eddie Rodriguez, D-Austin, joined in the effort to launch the site, which as of Monday afternoon has already raised $87,624 in donations from 1,322 donors.

“Travis County #StrongerTogether is not a permanent solution to the Governor’s attacks on our community, it shouldn’t have to be,” said Rep. Rodriguez in a statement. “We will help to fill the gap and work with Travis County to ensure that the people who have benefitted from the victim services, criminal diversion and rehabilitation programs at risk do not suffer. In the long-term, reasonable people must hold the Governor to account for his vindictive behavior at the ballot box.”

The funds raised will benefit the Travis County court programs that were funded by the grants. The county receives $1.8 million in Criminal Justice Division grant money every year and $300,000 had already been handed out as of this fiscal year. The rest of the grant money was cancelled by the governor’s office.

Where the Grant Money Goes

Department Name  Grant  Awarded
Civil Courts Parenting in Recovery Family Drug Treatment Court  $145,456.16
County Attorney Family Violence Accelerated Prosecution Program  $89,522.57
County Attorney Family Violence Accelerated Victim Outreach Program  $234,043.90
Criminal Courts Veterans Court Program  $193,930
Criminal Justice Plan Prostitute Prevention Program  $214,357
CSCD Travis County Adult Probation DWI Court  $259,284
Emergency Services Travis County SPD 2000 Replacement  $30,900
Juvenile Probation Streamlining Assessment Practices to Improve Youth Substance  $44,105.42
Juvenile Probation Trauma Specific Treatment for Juveniles  $58,937
Juvenile Probation Enhancing Services for Victims of Crime  $149,135.22
Juvenile Probation Leadership Academy  $183,817.50
Juvenile Probation Tiger Enrichment Program  $67,869.91
Pretrial Drug Diversion Court  $147,488.36
Totals  $1,818,874.04


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