New municipal court fee will fund improvements

Sue Fleming, The Freer Press

The Freer City Council unanimously passed an ordinance last Monday which will provide assessment and collection of municipal court building security fees effective Oct. 1.

According to the provision, a fee of $3 per paid violation will be deposited into the Municipal Court Building Security Fund to cover costs of future security features installed in the city hall building, which houses both the police department and city offices.

During discussion, police chief John Spillers spoke of various security options that can be used by authorized personnel in gaining front and back entry into the building.

During department reports, Spillers informed the council $200 in cash had been inadvertently misplaced.

He explained a money order that had been mistakenly made out to Hillcrest Wrecker Service was endorsed by Nuno Flores of the wrecker service and was cashed by Gracie Leal of the police department.

Spillers said Leal then put the money into his (Spiller's) box and that was the last time it had been seen.

"I don't know if I misplaced it; we haven't found it, we don't know what's happened to it," he said.

Spillers said he was going to purchase a locked drop-box for money (payments) to be placed in.

"I'll open it up, take the money out, sign a receipt and if it's for the city, I'll give it to Cindy to deposit and if it's ours (police department's), I'll deposit it," he said. "This should avoid any misplacement of money."

"What's being done about this money?" asked Mayor Arnoldo Cantu.

"We still haven't done anything yet; it hasn't been found, don't know what happened to it and I'm still not sure what to do," Spillers said.

This is the first time money has been lost or misplaced in 10 years in the police department and there's been lots of money dealt with, he said.

Cantu questioned the cashing of the check in which Spillers repeated again, the check had been cashed, was put into his box by Leal, and that was the last time it was seen.

"If the check had been made out correctly, it would not have been misdirected," Spillers said. "I'm trying to take action it doesn't happen again."

Afterward, a six-month review of Municipal Court Judge Elizabeth Adami was held in closed executive session.

Concluding the meeting, the council unanimously voted approval the purchase off 100 stop signs to replace old, faded and missing stop signs throughout parts of the city.

The signs will be purchased from Huntsville State Prison for a total cost of $1,914.50.

Attending the meeting were Sylvia Carrillo, Andy Bierstedt, Orlando Navarro, Carlos Salinas, Manuel "Rolita" Estrada, city secretary Cindy Lackey and Cantu.