Jo Anne Embleton
Jacksonville Daily Progress
In an attempt to get a better handle on enforcing civic code and processing existing warrants, the Bullard city council passed a budget amendment Tuesday to create a new full-time warrant/code enforcement officer position.
Danny Ray, who served as the city's part-time municipal court judge since 1998, started the new position Wednesday.
“We've got a large number of warrants that have not been worked that are sitting in the file cabinet, and we were looking for someone who could do this full-time,” said city manager Larry Morgan.
For the past several weeks, Ray has been contracted by the city to handle warrant and code enforcement. In this new position, he will receive an annual salary of $13,900 plus benefits, he said.
“One of the things I'm going to have to learn, as far as code enforcement, are the city ordinances,” Ray said.
His hope is to bring violations to property owners' attention and then “work things out in as easy a manner as possible,” he said. “Most of the time it's a pretty courteous situation (between the city and property owner), and they want to work with you to resolve it.”
He said he hopes to have a similar interaction with individuals who have warrants, by contacting them and help them resolve the issue without necessarily having to go to jail.
“There are options like community service and payment plans, things that people don't immediately think of,” Ray said. “This way, they can go ahead and make arrangements (with the city) to help resolve these issues.”
Also during Tuesday's meeting, the city council appointed James Connelly as its new municipal court judge. Connelly had served briefly as an associate judge for the local court prior to his appointment.