Image: Precinct 3 Montgomery County Commissioner James Noack was the only member of the Montgomery County Commissioners Court willing to stand up against the proposed spending increase of the Montgomery Central Appraisal District. County Judge Mark Keough and the other three Commissioners voted to give the Appraisal District a spending budget increase.
The Golden Hammer Staff Reports
Conroe, July 29 – Montgomery County Judge Mark Keough led three of the four other members of the Montgomery County Commissioners Court on Tuesday, July 28, 2020, to approve a spending increase for the 2021 calendar year budget for the Montgomery Central Appraisal District (MCAD), even after Chief Appraiser Tony Belinoski admitted to providing a misleading proposed budget which hid salaries increases during the meeting. The vote in favor of the MCAD spending increase was four (Keough, Commissioners Meador, Riley, and Metts) to one (Commissioner James Noack).
Precinct 3 Montgomery County Commissioner James Noack confronted Belinoski during the meeting about the fact that the proposed budget presentation Belinoski and MCAD had provided hardly provided any detail and failed to indicate that MCAD intended to give salary increases to all employees.
Noack said to Belinoski during the meeting, “I couldn’t make full sense out of [what you gave us]. When you give us such limited information, the numbers can say anything. As Mark and you have now stated, those numbers really were hiding something, and that was the fact of the raises. Did your board know that you had put a raise for employees in the budget?”
Keough then interjected, “That’s not what I was told,” based upon his discussion with Bruce Tough, Chairman of MCAD’s Board of Directors also known as the “King of Taxes.”
Belinoski tried to blame the MCAD Board of Directors. He said, “We had several meetings of the Budget Committee. This budget was presented at the May Board of Directors meeting for the budget to be sent out.”
Noack then responded, “Did they get the same budget we did, so it didn’t actually detail that raises were going to be made?”
Beloniski nodded his head in response.
At that point, Noack pointedly accused Belinoski, “So you not only misled us, but you misled the board and the public.”
Belinoski then told the Commissioners Court that MCAD would eliminate the salary increases and only seek an approximately $57,700 increase in spending, a 0.48% increase in the budget to approximately $12,014,025. The Chief Appraiser tried to blame the spending increase on “unfunded mandates from the State Legislature,” even though the Legislature merely required appraisal districts in Senate Bill 2 to provide additional disclosures to taxpayers about tax increase those districts impose. Belinoski also said the cost of Appraisal Review Boards increased, necessitating a higher spending budget.
MCAD found virtually no cost savings in its proposed budget.
Despite the fact that the local economy shut down in March from the unconstitutional “mandates” of the County Judge, Keough voted to impose the MCAD spending increase on the backs of beleaguered local taxpayers nonetheless.
Noack made clear that he would not support the increased MCAD expenditures while local citizens were reeling from the government-mandated economic shutdowns in response to the Chinese Coronavirus panic.
The Commissioners Court will pass through the MCAD spending increase to local taxpayers through an increase in the Montgomery County government budget to reflect the higher payment.