The Martin County Board on Tuesday took the matter of consent for refugee resettlement off their agenda, due to a federal injunction. Martin County Attorney Terry Viesselman explained the matter.
“A federal court issued an injunction prohibiting the executive branch of the federal government from implementing that policy of requiring communities to agree to taking refugees or not,” he said. “It’s kind of a moot point and until that all plays out I don’t think there’s any need for the board to take action at this time.”
Commissioners approved a motion to authorize recruitment for an additional attorney for the County Attorney’s Office. The need is due, in part, to the addition of prosecution duties for cities in the county as well as an increased case load over the years. County Attorney Terry Viesselman explains,Most of the funding for a new attorney will come from those [city] contracts,” he said. “So it’s a good deal for the county, it enables us to add another attorney and afford it.” Viesselman pointed out that approximately 90 percent of the cost for a new attorney will be covered by the city contracts.
Viesselman went on to say “Martin County has always been somewhat of a hotbed for crime, in part because we’re the crossroads for two major highways. Statistics show how crime has increased in the last nine years. Felonies increased 83 percent, gross misdemeanors increased 47 percent, and the major crime total increased 66 percent. Information provided by Viesselman showed cases of dependency or neglect showed an increase of 195 percent from 2010 to 2019, while termination of parental rights cases have increased 367 percent, primarily due to meth use in families. Juvenile felonies were also up 53 percent..
The board also;approved a Prosecution Contract with the city of Dunnell. The city will pay $150 per hour for attorney time, commencing January 1, 2020, Approved the creation and posting of a new Park Caretaker/Highway Maintenance Specialist position and approved the hire of Tanya Rathman as Jail Administrator for the Martin County Sheriff’s Office.