Washington Co. JPs Weigh In On Cochran’s Resignation Over Budget Concerns

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WASHINGTON COUNTY (KFSM) -- A day after Rick Cochran resigned from his justice of the peace position in Washington County, two of his fellow Quorum Court members discussed the issues that he said led to his resignation.

Justice of the Peace Butch Pond, District 15, said he could not disagree with anything Cochran had to say about budget issues in the county. Pond said he aware the general fund reserve is slowly dwindling and knows something will need to change.

“We’re not going to be able to keep kicking the can down the road so to speak," Pond said. "We’re either going to have to cut back on services or put that millage back.”

Pond is referring to a half mil decrease the Quorum Court passed about five years ago. He said if something does not change in one or two years, then other departments could suffer.

"We will have to cut some services and most of the time that’s going to be from the roads," Pond said.

Justice of the Peace Eva Madison, District 9, disagreed with Pond. She said there is a problem with the county spending more than they are taking in, but they have enough money to change that. Right now, the county's general fund reserve is about 10 percent of the general fund. Madison said she's okay with that.

 

"We have seen a decline in reserves, but at the same time, you know, it’s not doomsday, the sky is not falling," said Madison. "There’s still a lot of time to work this out and I think we can.”

She also said Cochran's claims to be the only JP to propose actions to help the budget are not true.

“There are a lot of us that work very hard on the budget, me included," Madison said. "I mean Rick is a hard worker, don’t get me wrong, but to say it was solo was an exaggeration.”

According to Madison, Cochran's proposal to increase the millage by half a mil came as a surprise to many people. She said the proposal was not on the agenda and the public did not know about it until then.

Both Madison and Pond said they recently voted to pass this year's budget. Madison said she knows it is not perfect, but they have the resources to fix it.

 

County Judge Joseph Wood also released the statement Thursday regarding Cochran's resignation: “I am thankful for Justice Cochran’s service and commitment to Washington County and its citizens. Justice Cochran is to be commended for his work in keeping the Quorum Court’s focus on the County’s budget, and, particularly, the county’s reserve funds. I am hopeful that our Quorum Court will follow his lead on focusing on the County’s budget and I pray that God will continue to bless Justice Cochran in his endeavors.”