Conroe, August 3 – Montgomery County citizens should demand and expect that the Board of District Judges and the Montgomery County Commissioners Court will reduce the County Auditor’s Office Budget by at least $348,176.47 to reflect the decision of the Commissioners Court to move the Auditor’s budget function to a separate “Budget Office.” At the conclusion of the “budget workshop” on Friday, July 28, the Commissioners Court decided to set up a separate Budget Office to permit the County Auditor to focus on her audit duties.
County Judge Craig Doyal proposed taking the savings from the County’s payment to the Montgomery Central Appraisal – reduced as a result of the 20% homestead exemption the Commissioners Court approved in March – and approximately $50,000 from Doyal’s County Judge Department to defray the cost of what the Commissioners Court has estimated would be a $300,000 per year separate Budget Office.
The Golden Hammer obtained Position Description Questionnaires (PDQs) for the County Auditor’s Office to analyze how much money the move of budget functions away from the Auditor’s Office might save taxpayers. Of course, neither Doyal nor the Commissioners addressed reducing County Auditor Phyllis Martin’s proposed budget despite the reduction in her office’s functions.
Although PDQs were not available for every one of the twenty-seven (27) employees in the Auditor’s Office, several were available and provided the ability to establish a baseline of the amount of money by which the Board of District Judge and the Commissioners Court should reduce the Auditor’s Budget. The Board of District Judges must establish the Auditor’s Budget. They approved her proposed budget on June 30, 2017, but that occurred long before the Commissioners Court voted to remove a major part of her duties to another County Department.
Here’s the calculation:
First Assistant County Auditor Angela Blocker spends 20% of her time on budget matters, so her functions are reduced by $30,609.72, which includes salary and benefits.
A Budget/Financial Reporting Supervisor spends 45% of her time on budget matters, so her functions are reduced by $46,895.05, which includes salary and benefits.
A Budget Analyst spends 100% of his time on budget matters, so his or her functions are reduced by $85,263.72, which includes salary and benefits.
A Financial Reporting Analyst spends 10% of her time on budget matters, so her functions are reduced by $8,526.37, which includes salary and benefits.
A Financial Systems Specialist spends 5% of his time on budget matters, so his functions are reduced by $7,380.92.
Two Grants Accountants spend 70% of their time on budget matters, so their functions are reduced by a total of $118,427.10, which includes salaries and benefits.
The Golden Hammer estimates that County Auditor Phyllis Martin spends 25% of her time on budget matters. Therefore, reducing her functions should reduce the County Auditor’s Budget by $51,074.59, which includes salary and benefits.
Please note that all of the reductions reflect the percentage of total salary and benefits for each of the positions.
The total savings on salaries along should be $348,176.47.
At a minimum, the Commissioners Court has claimed to set aside $300,000 for the new Budget Office. Therefore, one might hope and expect that the Commissioners Court would reduce the County Auditor’s Budget by that $300,000. The Board of District Judges should set a public hearing and reconsider the County Auditor’s Budget. The Commissioners Court should do the same. The Commissioners Court intends to pass the final budget on September 5, 2017.
For once, the taxpayers deserve a break in this budget process.