20% Homestead Exemption, Doyal’s Encouragement of Foreign Nationals to Receive Easier Immigration Status Under Obama Program in Montgomery County Highlight March 28 Commissioners Court Meeting

Three great Republican leaders, left to right: Precinct 3 County Commissioner James Noack, County GOP Chairman Walter D. Wilkerson, Jr., and future POTUS Macoy Noack.

Conroe, March 28 – The Montgomery County Commissioners held a meeting on Tuesday, March 28, 2017, at 9:30 a.m., where Noack led, Riley switched his vote, and Doyal followed to allow passage of a 20% property tax homestead exemption.

Points are good.

COMMISSIONERS COURT MEETING MARCH 28, 2017, 9:30 a.m. (Judge Doyal and Commissioners Meador, Noack, Riley, and Clark were present.)

Agenda Item 9A1: Consider and approve payment of accounts. Without any review, discussion, or examination, the County Commissioners approved spending $4,086,877.00 of Montgomery County citizens’ tax dollars, which included payments of $32,472.75 to County Judge Craig Doyal’s and Commissioner Charlie Riley’s pals supposedly working on the $100 million 3.6 mile Tx-249 “Decimation of Hope Highway” at the far southwest edge of Montgomery County. It is truly amazing that the Commissioners Court would spend that amount of our tax dollars without any open deliberation whatsoever. 10 points. A “no” vote is appropriate.

Doyal YES

Meador YES

Riley YES

Noack YES

Clark YES

Agenda Item 9A2: Consider and approve Budget Amendment for Fiscal Year 2017. Some of the budget amendments were minor. Spending $50,000 in “pretend money” for the Civic Center Complex is not minor. Meador transferred $16,211.00 from his road and bridge fund to his “general fund” since he is too lazy to attend to the roads of Precinct 1. Commissioner Noack actually increased his road and bridge fund by $2,430.00. County Attorney Jerry Don “Ice Man” Lambright provided a $70,000 inexplicable and undocumented budget amendment.

Craig Doyal purchased a laptop computer for $1,468.72 for “chief of staff” jim fredricks, who receives a salary $118,000 per year but only works part-time.

County Treasurer Stephanne Davenport returned $22,040.27 into the County’s general fund rather than the $31,500 she had promised the citizens during her presentation at the March 14 Commissioners Court meeting concerning her departmental “reorganization.”

The County spent $6,000 for a right-of-way acquisition for the $100 million 3.6 mile Tx-249 “Decimation of Hope Highway” project. This money came in the form a “loan” to the Montgomery County Toll Road Authority. Therefore, all five members of the Commissioners Court should have recused themselves from the vote because they are board members of the borrower on the loan from the County.

The County has suffered a loss of $11,645.14 in projected toll revenue for the other disastrous toll roads in our community.

The Permits Department is spending $2,206.53 on desks.

The Purchasing Department is spending $1,403.90 on extra supplies from the secret FY 2016 budget funds carried over from last years taxation

A “no” vote is appropriate. 10 points.

Doyal YES

Meador YES

Riley YES

Noack YES

Clark YES

Agenda Items 9C: Approve over $1 million in contracts and change orders. No discussion, no deliberation, no consideration. A “No” vote is appropriate.10 points.

Doyal YES

Meador YES

Riley YES

Noack YES

Clark YES

Agenda Item 9H: Commissioner James Noack requested discussion (!!!) of this agenda item concerning the request by County Judge Craig Doyal to designate Montgomery County as a targeted EB-5 employment area to permit people who have failed to satisfy immigration requirements to receive waivers of those requirements for certain jobs under a federal program. The purpose of the EB-5 visa application program is to encourage foreign nationals to invest in targeted areas within the United States by making immigration requirements easier for them. The program was created under the 1990 Immigration Act. In 2014, President B. Hussein Obama began to encourage local communities to use this program more aggressively in order to make it easier for foreign nationals to enter the United States. Of course, County Judge Craig Doyal, Precinct 2 Commissioner Charlie Riley, and Precinct 1 Commissioner Mike Meador have led the way to following President Obama in “lock-step.” A “No” vote is proper. Major vote. 25 points.

Doyal YES

Meador YES

Riley YES

Noack Abstain.

Clark YES

Commissioner Noack receives a 10 point bonus, because at least he asked some good questions about this Agenda item which Judge Doyal, Commissioner Riley, and Commissioner Meador attempted to hide from the conservative Republican citizens of Montgomery County.

Citizen Comments:

Bill O’Sullivan discussed several problems with the County government’s financial policies.

John Wertz argued for the 20% homestead exemption.

A citizen presented Constable Gene De Forest, a member of Craig Doyal’s “Hit List,” with his 15-Year Service Award Pin for length of service with Montgomery County, since Doyal has excluded De Forest from receiving the Pin at the April 27, 2017, Award Ceremony.

Agenda Item 11A – Consider and act on request for funding for the creation of a Veterans Memorial Park to be located in the City of Conroe. Former County Judge Jimmy Edwards requested that the County Commissioners each contribute $15,000 out of their road and bridge funds for the Park. Commissioner James Noack stated that he would provide all of the contribution from Precinct 3 through raising private funds rather than using tax dollars. The Commissioners voted to take this action. Commissioner Noack receives a 100 point bonus for showing great leadership on this issue, as he raised the entirety of the funds before the end of the business day on March 28. He also contributed $5,000 himself.

Agenda Item 11B – Appoint the members of the Ethics Committee to pretend to enforce the Code of Ethics. In actuality, the Ethics Committee has virtually no power whatsoever.

Charlie Riley sought to put his best friend and closest political ally, Tommy Gage, on the Ethics Committee along with another campaign supporter of his. Instead, the Commissioners Court put Larry Foerster and Dorothy Woodall on the Committee.

From the Auditor’s nominees, the Commissioners Court put Dale Inman, a close political ally of Marc Davenport and Craig Doyal, on the Committee.

From the Purchasing Department’s nominees, the Commissioners Court put Kelly Cooper, someone about whom they had almost no information, on the Committee.

From the Human Resources Department, the Commissioners Court put Matthew Koppelman on the Committee.

The person who showed truly great leadership and input in this process was County Attorney J.D. Lambright who courageously urged the Commissioners Court not to put former Sheriff Gage on the Committee because the Committee might oversee hundreds of his former employees in the Sheriff’s Department. Lambright superbly explained how important it is for the Ethics Committee to have the appearance of an group somewhat independent of politics.

The Inman appointment is troubling for the reasons Lambright raised. Dale Inman is a fine person. He has made clear to many people that he intends to run for public office very soon. For a while he had told many people that he was definitely running for District Clerk in the 2018 election. Instead, Inman now has made clear he intends to run for Precinct 1 County Commissioner in 2020. He’s a good guy and a fine Senior Pastor of his church. His political intentions, though, raise problematic issues.

The Court members voted as a block. Their votes were generally okay. Even Riley who original opted for intensely political nominees for the Committee was good natured in his willingness to back off from those nominations.

Agenda Item 15A: Consider and approve the FY 2018 Budget Packet. After a very weak presentation from County Auditor Phyllis Martin who had worked closely with County Judge Doyal to try to trick the Commissioners Court into adopting a Budget Policy that would encourage substantial increases in County government spending, the Commissioners Court tabled this item.

Agenda Item 15B. County Auditor Phyllis Martin provided three reports concerning budget issues. For a complete discussion, please see The Golden Hammer‘s “County Judge Doyal, Commissioner Meador Enlist County Auditor Martin to Produce Bizarre Budget Reports” (March 27, 2017).

Mike or Gerald?

Agenda Item 15: County Auditor Phyllis Martin provided the County’s Comprehensive Financial Report (CAFR) for Fiscal Year 2016.

Agenda Item 16A: Consider and approve permitting the shelter to charge between $0 and $80 for adoptions in order to stimulate adoptions. Animal Shelter Director Charles Jackson explained that, when he started working there in December, 2016, there were over 618 animals on average at the Shelter. The average now is around 300 due to aggressive adoption programs and better relationships with volunteers. Jackson noted that very few animals are returned. Major vote. 25 Points. A “Yes” vote is appropriate.

Doyal YES

Meador YES

Riley YES

Noack YES

Clark YES

Agenda Items 16B and C: Permit reimbursements for travel for two Shelter employees who did not turn their requests for reimbursement in timely after they had traveled on behalf of the Animal Shelter in early December, 2016, before Director Jackson joined the County as an employee. 1 point. A “Yes” vote is appropriate.

Doyal YES

Meador YES

Riley YES

Noack YES

Clark YES

Agenda Item 16D: Using existing budget funds for the Animal Shelter, equalize salaries for Clinical Techs and Vet Techs since they perform many of the same duties and often cover for each other within the Animal Shelter. 1 point. A “Yes” vote is appropriate.

Doyal YES

Meador YES

Riley YES

Noack YES

Clark YES

Agenda Item 21A1 – Consider and act on rescinding January 26, 2015, resolution which placed management and control of all County Departments under County Judge. Major vote. 25 points. A “Yes” vote is appropriate. Failed 2 to 3.

Doyal NO

Meador NO

Riley NO

Noack YES

Clark YES

Agenda Item 21A3 – Consider and act to increase residential homestead exemption from 10% to 20%. Major vote. 25 points. A “Yes” vote is appropriate. Noack made the motion and Clark seconded it as a 15% exemption. Riley suggested amending the motion to a 20% homestead exemption. At that point, since Doyal saw that the 20% exemption was going to pass, he indicated he would follow the lead of Noack, Riley, and Clark. The measure passed on a 4 to 1 vote with Meador voting against giving taxpayers any relief from the County’s out-of-control spending.

Doyal YES

Meador NO

Riley YES

Noack YES

Clark YES

Agenda Item 21A4 – Provide a disabled resident exemption of $35,000 from County property taxes. The $35,000 refers to the home value amount exempted. 25 points. Major vote.

Doyal YES

Meador YES

Riley YES

Noack YES

Clark YES

Agenda Item 24: Citizen Comments.

Bill O’Sullivan announced that Senator Brandon Creighton would amend the “private commercial use” language from the proposed bill for the Jones State Forest.

Eric Yollick presented “The Golden Hammer Award” to County Auditor Phyllis Martin.

John Wertz thanked Kelli Cook for her work on the 20% homestead exemption issue. He asked the Commissioners Court to consider an over-65 homestead exemption.

Commissioner Riley indicated that he didn’t look at Commissioners Court Agenda packets until the day before Court meetings. Therefore, he wasn’t prepared four weeks earlier to vote for the homestead exemption, because he had only considered the matter for one day.

TOTAL SCORES FOR MARCH 28, 2017 MEETING.

Doyal 77/156. Grade = F.

Meador 52/156. Grade = F.

Riley 77/156. Grade = F.

Noack 212/156. Grade = A+.

Clark 102/156. Grade = D. !!!!!!!!

CUMULATIVE POSSIBLE SCORES FOR FY 2017 = 2,167.

Doyal = 257/2,323. Grade = F.

Meador = 297/2,323. Grade = F.

Riley = 317/2,323. Grade = F.

Noack = 1,097/2,323. Grade = F.

Clark = 637/2,323. Grade = F.

Disappointing (again). The so-called “consent agenda” is a serious problem that Commissioner Noack and Commissioner Clark must address. There simply should never be a consent agenda. The Commissioners Court should conduct open deliberations before the citizens on every issue. Ever heard of the Texas Open Meetings Act?

As citizens, we must remain vigilant.

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