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Commissioners to take steps toward public defenders office

Monday, May 23, 2022

The Hays County Commissioners Court will have a discussion related to awarding a Request For Proposal for a public defenders office to either Neighborhood Defender Service, Inc. or Texas RioGrande Legal Aid, Inc. during its Tuesday-morning meeting.

The commissioners will also look to authorize the evaluation committee and General Counsel to enter into discussions with the selected respondent for contract development which will be brought back to court for consideration.

Following an evaluation of the proposals and interviews with both firms, the evaluation committee recommends the commissioners court to discuss and approve the selection of one of the respondents to move forward and pursue contract negotiations.

Previously, County Commissioners Lon Shell and Debbie Ingalsbe alongside local nonprofit Mano Amiga, which has advocated for the creation of the PDO, provided an update in April.

“To be truly holistic, we have to acknowledge the spillover effects that result from somebody’s involvement with the criminal legal system and its impact on family, housing, schooling, and more,” said Eric Martinez, Policy Director with Mano Amiga. “If somebody cannot afford an attorney under the criminal legal system, then they cannot afford an attorney to address civil issues much like the wealthy can. To be innovative and address this incarceration crisis here locally, we need a holistic Public Defender’s Office in Hays [County].”

The court is also set to adopt a proclamation declaring the week of May 22-28, 2022 as Search and Rescue Week in Hays County.

According to the proclamation, the week “offers its thanks to all the first responder agencies and Search and Rescue agencies that support and work tirelessly on finding those who are lost and bringing closure to the families of the missing.”

During the meeting, there will be a presentation by the Military Order of the Purple Heart Chapter 1919. Action on the item may include the acceptance of Hays County’s designation as a Purple Heart County and instructions to staff.

There will also be a presentation by representatives of Cox Commercial Construction, LLC regarding work zone and construction area awareness and safety.

The ongoing construction projects within the county along with the additional projects moving toward construction in the near future will bring traffic switches, traffic shifts, lane closures and detours. The presentation will focus on general industry issues regarding work zone and construction area awareness and safety.

The final presentation will be by Lee McCormick regarding the Lone Star PACE 2021 annual report.

A public hearing will be held to discuss, consider and take appropriate action in regards to the assessment rate related to Hays County’s participation in the County Health Care Provider Participation Program.

The court will set the fiscal year 2022 assessment rate, consider the approval of the amount of payments for each hospital as determined by 293.151 Texas Health and Safety Code and consider other issues related to the program.

The commissioners will also consider the authorization between the County Judge to execute a Professional Services Agreement related to the Hays County Mental Health Needs Assessment between Hays County and The Meadows Mental Health Policy Institute for Texas (“MMHPI”).

A discussion will also take place related to authorizing the County Judge to execute an interlocal funding agreement between Hays County and San Marcos Consolidated ISD regarding the purchase of a Gerling Fast Vac Mobile Vaccine Facility to provide immunization and vaccine services to the public.

The facility will also provide public health outreach and vaccine education to children and families throughout San Marcos and Hays County who are uninsured or underinsured, within vulnerable and underserved communities.

SMCISD will provide $115,000 and the County will utilize $115,000 in grant funds provided by St. David’s hospital for this purchase.

The commissioners court meeting will begin at 9 a.m. at the Hays County Historic Courthouse located at 111 E. San Antonio St.

Those looking to participate in public comments can submit a public participation/witness form to the county clerk before 9 a.m. on Tuesday.

For those not attending the meeting but are still wishing to submit public comments to be read during commissioners court, visit the Hays County website to fill out and submit a PDF form to no later than 5 p.m. the evening prior to a commissioners court meeting.

To view the full meeting agenda or watch the commissioner court, visit

San Marcos Record

(512) 392-2458
P.O. Box 1109, San Marcos, TX 78666