Conroe, May 30 – The Citizens Budget Committee will begin its formal and open meetings for the Fiscal Year 2019 Budget for the Montgomery County government today at 5:30 p.m. Montgomery County Sheriff Rand Henderson has agreed to host the meetings of the Committee at the Sheriff’s Academy at 112 Academy Drive, Conroe, Texas 77301.
The Citizens Budget Committee meetings will be open to the public. Members of the public who are not members of the Committee are welcome to address the Committee on County government budget issues. There will be a 5 minutes informal time limitation. County government employees are also welcome to address the Committee on government budget issues but will be subject to a strict 3 minute time limitation for their remarks in accordance with procedures the Committee has adopted.
Committee Vice Chairman Bill O’Sullivan, also known as “The Sage,” told The Golden Hammer, “The Citizen’s Budget Committee is a way for Citizens to express what they consider would be a ‘Fair Deal’ for Taxpayers without sacrificing either Public Safety or needed capability elsewhere. For example, our Commissioners and Judge get paid more than the governors of 44 States including Governor Abbott. By simple inspection, that’s wrong. Our salaries including benefits should be competitive economically with the private sector in Montgomery County.”
”We welcome input from other citizens of Montgomery County and don’t intend to restrict those comments or participation as long as the remarks are germane to the Fiscal Year 2019 Budget,” Citizens Budget Committee Chairman Eric Yollick explained. “The only reason we’re restricting the time for County government employees to speak is that this process focuses on citizen input into the County government’s budget. The County government clearly needs our help.”
The initial open meeting of the Citizens Budget Committee will focus on broad budget policy issues and the formulation of Fiscal Year 2019 Budget goals in addition to goals for future Fiscal Years as well.
The Committee has a larger membership this year than it did last year. “We’ve received several requests to join the Committee,” Yollick explained. “Additionally, several people have asked that we include them in Committee information so that they may monitor our progress.”
For Fiscal Year 2018, the Citizens Budget Committee provided a detailed report which recommended substantial reductions in County government spending. Lame duck Montgomery County Judge Craig Doyal took several actions during the Fiscal Year 2018 Budget cycle to exclude and prevent citizen participation during the budget process.
At the conclusion of the 2018 Budget process, on September 5, 2017, the Citizens Budget Committee raised several problems with the proposed budget, including duplicate spending in several areas, contradictions in the proposed budget, and other issues. Precinct 4 County Commissioner Jim Clark voted against the Fiscal Year 2018 Budget as a result of the problems with that proposed budget and the haste with which Doyal and the other three County Commissioners insisted upon its passage.
The Fiscal Year 2018 Budget passed on a 4 to 1 vote on September 5, 2017.
Both Doyal and Precinct 3 County Commissioner James Noack repeatedly assured citizens who appeared before the Commissioners Court on multiple occasions that the Commissioners Court would reduce the County Auditor’s budget by the amount they set aside for a Budget Office. Neither Noack or Doyal ever took any action to effectuate any reductions in the County Auditor’s budget.