Conroe, August 26 – The new Montgomery County government “budget office” is nothing other than a scam, an excuse to raise County government spending by at least $301,000 per year. Just think about how much money that is: the median annual family earnings in Montgomery County, Texas, is $68,838 per year. The Commissioners Court intends to increase government spending by four times what a family earns on a department which ostensibly exists to save money!
This spending disaster, which County Judge Craig Doyal and Precinct 3 County Commissioner James Noack have jointly proposed, will include a department director who will earn more than $157,000 per year (including salary and benefits), two bureaucratic assistants, a copier lease, a taxpayer-funded water cooler lease (!), paid vacations to Chicago and Austin for the employees to attend government finance officer propaganda seminars, and a travel allowance for local travel. County Auditor Phyllis Martin set the salary for the budget director at the 2008 salary for the same position (before Doyal and Precinct 1 County Commissioner Mike Meador moved to abolish the office for proposing to reducing County government spending), plus cost of living adjustments and raises over the past nine years.
Amazingly, the new “budget office” director will start a position for which she or he will have already received nine years of raises without even working for the County government.
Let’s be fair to ourselves. The correct name of the new Doyal-Noack-Martin bureaucracy is not the “budget office.” It’s the Spending Increase Bureau (“SIB”). The SIB’s primary purpose will be to fade the political heat for County government spending increases, such as the major elected official salary spending increase we can all expect next budget cycle.
What’s most amazing about the Doyal-Noack-Martin Spending Increase Bureau is that it still has no purpose, mission, or goals, other than Martin’s explanation, “You want to spend $300,000 on a budget office.” The only purpose of the Spending Increase Bureau so far is to spend County tax dollars on its own budget and not to pull those funds from the County Auditor’s Budget.
During the “budget hearing” (an interesting appellation given the fact that the Commissioners Court has still failed to disclose to the public what the “proposed budget” even is) on Tuesday, August 22, 2017, Noack raised the question whether the Commissioners Court could pull the funds for the “budget office” or Spending Increase Bureau out of the County Auditor’s Fiscal Year 2018 Budget through a “budget amendment” as opposed to spending new funds out of the general tax funds.
Assistant County Attorney B.D. Griffin, always the apologist for the “good ol’ boys” to spend more tax dollars, answered, “I don’t believe the Commissioners Court has the authority to amend the budget of the County Auditor” since the Board of District Judges initially sets her budget.
Griffin, Martin, and the Commissioners Court then have some explaining to do. During the current Fiscal Year 2017, the Commissioners Court voted upon and approved two budget amendments for the County Auditor’s Budget without seeking any input or approval from the Board of District Judges! Those budget amendments occurred on January 24, 2017, and May 9, 2017.
Once again, the citizens of Montgomery County are witnessing the general principle that Doyal, the Commissioners Court, Martin, and Griffin seem willing to say just about anything to try to scam the citizens of Montgomery County into believing that they’re following proper methods and not just wastefully spending money.
In this instance, the waste is between $301,080 (the proposed Spending Increase Bureau budget) and the $500,000 approximately which will remain in the County Auditor’s Budget despite the fact that she won’t be responsible for budgeting any longer.