Clark shows great anti-tollroad leadership in February 13 Commissioners Court meeting, despite County Judge Doyal’s resistance to reform

Clark shows great anti-tollroad leadership in February 13 Commissioners Court meeting, despite County Judge Doyal’s resistance to reform

Image: Right to left, Precinct 4 County Commissioner Jim Clark, Kelly Osborn Clark, and Fire Chief Kevin Hosler.

Conroe, February 25 – Precinct 4 County Commissioner Jim Clark showed great leadership during the February 13 Montgomery County Commissioners Court meeting when he stood up to the resistance of Republican-In-Name-Only County Judge Craig Doyal who defied the Republican Party Platform by fighting to keep tolls on the State Highway 242 flyovers even though the taxpayers have paid off the debt on those roads. Clark argued for immediate removal of the SH 242 flyover tolls.

The Republican Party of Texas Platform has two planks relevant to this issue:

Toll Roads– We believe that tolls should come off the road when the debt is retired, and if the debt is ever restructured or refinanced, the pay-off date needs to remain the same or receive voter approval in order to extend the toll tax longer. Maintenance should then revert to the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT). We oppose public-private partnerships, specifically regarding toll projects. We oppose conversion of existing roads or lanes to toll roads.

Toll Road Funding– We oppose the use of taxpayer money to subsidize, guarantee, prop-up, or bail out any toll projects, whether public or private, and we call upon both state and federal lawmakers to adequately fund our highways without hidden taxes, tolls, or raiding emergency funds.

Clark argued for the precise position of the Republican Party with respect to the flyovers. Specifically, he told the Commissioners Court that he wants the tolls taken off the flyovers since the taxpayers retired the debt and he wants the maintenance to revert to TxDOT. Doyal and Precinct 2 County Commissioner Charlie Riley fought Clark at every step of the way. Precinct 2 County Commissioner James Noack was very supportive of Clark’s work on this issue.

The Golden Hammer‘s ratings measure Commissioners Court votes that affect spending in comparison to the provisions of the Republican Party of Texas Platform. Points are good. The number of points depends upon the amount of money involved in each vote.

Commissioners Court meeting, February 13, 2018, 9:30 a.m. All Court members were physically present. (Riley rarely reviews the materials before the meetings so he’s totally unprepared.)

Agenda Item 8A1: The Commissioners Court approved 119 single-spaced pages of spending totaling $11,898,067.49 without any review, discussion, or deliberation, because all of it appeared as one line on the secretive “consent agenda”: “Approve Payment of Accounts.”

The Commissioners Court approved $131,196.07 in additional spending out of the taxpayers’ general revenue fund of the County government for the $73 million, 3.6 mile, TX 249 Tollway, also known as the Decimation of Hope Highway.

Montgomery County Judge Craig Doyal and Precinct 2 County Commissioner Charlie Riley have repeatedly lied to the citizens of this community that the Texas Department of Transportation would not build the road as a free road. TxDOT Commissioner Victor Vandergriff spoke to the Commissioners Court on December 19, 2017, and told the public that TxDOT would build the road as a Farm to Market Road, like F.M. 1488, so that the full TX 249 Extension could proceed as a free road.

Since building the road as a Tollway gives Doyal and Riley the ability to funnel enormous funds to their favored political contributors and criminal legal defense fund contributors, Doyal and Riley are the only two people in Texas who actually want a tollroad!

Major vote. 25 points. A “no” vote is appropriate.

DOYAL Yes

MEADOR Yes

RILEY Yes

NOACK Yes

CLARK Yes.

Agenda Item 8A2: The Commissioners Court continued to clean up the terrible accounting and bookkeeping mess from the previous fiscal year which ended on September 30, 2017. Now, four months later, they’re still having to vote in favor of spending measures for dollars they spent in the previous year without any formal approval. 25 points. A “no” vote is appropriate.

DOYAL Yes

MEADOR Yes

RILEY Yes

NOACK Yes

CLARK Yes.

Agenda Item 8A3: The County government budget process is a complete mess. They’re supposed to publish the budget and then allow citizens to participate in public hearings. Doyal, Riley, and their colleagues (other than Precinct 4 County Commissioner Jim Clark who objected) chose to conduct a closed set of meetings where they didn’t allow the public to object to all of the mistakes, problems, duplications, and overspending within the budget.

Now, during this year, the Commissioners Court has to go in and clean up the messes they created with the haste of the budget process and in their not permitting public citizen eyes to view and help them out with their mistakes.

That’s why you saw more than $5.6 million of so-called “budget amendments” done in secret for the Fiscal Year 2018 Budget. They’re having to clean up their messes.

Meador is the king of unexplained budget amendments. In this one Commissioners Court meeting alone, Meador moved $1,824,342.90 of “slush” into various accounts within his Commissioners Precinct Office.

That’s what budgeting without any oversight looks like.

Major vote. 25 points. “No” vote appropriate.

DOYAL Yes

MEADOR Yes

RILEY Yes

NOACK Yes

CLARK Yes.

Agenda Item 8C: The Commissioners Court approved over $2.9 million of purchasing decisions without any discussion, deliberation, or consideration. Major vote. 25 points. “No” vote appropriate.

DOYAL Yes

MEADOR Yes

RILEY Yes

NOACK Yes

CLARK Yes.

Agenda Item 8E3a: Appoint five individuals to Emergency Service District Boards. This action occurred without discussion or consideration in an open meeting. The ESDs are spending and taxing many tens of millions of dollars, so there should be far more openness and transparency in the process to select the stewards of those funds. 10 points. “No” vote appropriate.

DOYAL Yes

MEADOR Yes

RILEY Yes

NOACK Yes

CLARK Yes.

Agenda Item 8G: The Commissioners Court approved payroll changes that weren’t even provided to them. That’s government secrecy at its worst. Shame on them. 10 points. “No” vote appropriate.

DOYAL Yes

MEADOR Yes

RILEY Yes

NOACK Yes

CLARK Yes.

Agenda Item 9: There were no citizen comments, as County Judge Craig Doyal has essentially shut them down. When citizens do speak, Doyal rudely interrupts. Meador leaves the room. Riley swears under his breath.

Agenda Item 11A: Eric Yollick presented “The Golden Hammer Award” to James Metts for costing taxpayers approximately $850,000 per year in lost collections of fees and fines. Metts shouted catcalls from the back of the Commissioners Courtroom while Doyal and the bailiff seemed to encourage the disruptive conduct.

Precinct 4 JP James Metts presented a sales pitch for the NetData/Graves Humphries Stahl collection system which is losing the County approximately $850,000 per year in fees and fines they don’t collect in comparison to the one Justice of the Peace Court that doesn’t use them.

It’s worth noting that the primary advocate for this terrible collection debacle, besides Metts, was the man Metts introduced at a County employee meeting in 2011 as “my sworn deputy” – Marc Davenport.

Doyal assisted in lying to the taxpayers by complimenting NetData on the collection of approximately $500,000, which wasn’t collection at all but merely the assessment of fees and fines in criminal cases imposed in a JP court. There was no vote, but Doyal receives a 100 deduction from his score for lying.

Metts ended the presentation with an emotional outburst directed at one taxpayer.

Agenda Item 14A: The Commissioners Court moved salaries and benefits around in the Information Technology Department in the middle of the year. That should occur only at the time of the budget process in July. 5 points. A “no” vote is appropriate. It passed 4 to 1 with Noack dissenting.

DOYAL Yes

MEADOR Yes

RILEY Yes

NOACK No

CLARK Yes.

Agenda Item 16: Doyal and Riley have mismanaged the 2015 road bonds so severely that the County government had to use general revenue funds rather than bonds so that they could begin work on several road projects that Doyal and Riley have delayed now for almost three years. 10 points. “No” vote appropriate.

DOYAL Yes

MEADOR Yes

RILEY Yes

NOACK Yes

CLARK Yes.

Agenda Item 17: Pay $411,000 for structural damage to the Woodforest North Bridge, because Riley failed to address the problem in 2016 when the problems began to occur. TxDOT inspected in in January and shut the bridge down for safety reasons. Now, the taxpayers have to pay for Riley’s mess. While it is responsible to vote for this item – 10 points – Riley receives a 250 point deduction for his complete failure to manage the problem

DOYAL Yes

MEADOR Yes

RILEY Yes

NOACK Yes

CLARK Yes.

Agenda Item 20: Clark argued for removal of the State Highway 242 flyover tolls and advocated dissolving the so-called “Montgomery County Toll Road Authority” altogether. Clark made clear that he is meeting with TxDOT to ask them to agree to assume the maintenance responsibilities for the flyovers. Clark receives a 500 point bonus for standing up for the citizens’ will and for the principles of the Republican Party Platform.

Agenda Item 23 – Citizen Comments.

Ginger Russell, the Quiet Lady from Magnolia, asked the Commissioners Court to remove the SH 242 flyover tolls.

John Hill Wertz and Bill O’Sullivan also argued for removal of the flyover tolls.

Commissioners Court ratings for January 23, 2018, meeting:

DOYAL 10/135. Grade F.

MEADOR 5/135. Grade F.

RILEY 5/135. Grade F.

NOACK 10/135. Grade F.

CLARK 5/135. Grade F.

The following are the cumulative scores for Fiscal Year 2018, which began October 1, 2017.

DOYAL -760/1,643. Grade F.

MEADOR 85/1,643. Grade F.

RILEY 85/1,643. Grade F.

NOACK 950/1,643. Grade F.

CLARK 960/1,643. Grade F.

The citizens must remain vigilant.

 

 

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