New Caney, June 8 – Explaining that “a fiscal conservative figures out how to do more and spend less government money,” Precinct 4 County Commissioner Jim Clark proposed a 9.7% lower budget for his Precinct 4 Commissioner County Department for the upcoming Fiscal Year 2018. “The citizens of Precinct 4 won’t see any reduction in services and, in fact, will see further improvements in services just like this year.
There are three major reasons, Clark explained, that he’s been able to achieve this major spending reduction: “Number one, we’ve taken work that used to be contracted out and we’re doing it in-house. Second, we’ve figured out ways to reduce the number of equipment repairs by doing preventive work on our equipment. Third, we’ve overall tightened our belts. I’ve got a great team in the Precinct 4 Commissioner’s Office. The taxpayers and citizens are seeing the results.”
Clark has proposed a $359,020 reduction in his department budget for next year. The only budget categories which he increased was for insecticides, where Clark has proposed a $4,000 increase for the coming fiscal year, professional services with a $25,000 increase, and tolls with a $2,000 increase. “Based on the increased need and cost of chemicals, spending $20,000 total on insecticides is the lowest budget I could justify. I had to increase the tolls budget because of our increasing use of Highway 99.”
Clark’s biggest areas of reductions in his proposed budget are a savings of $30,000, or 60%, for right of way acquisition, and a savings of $77,000, or 55%, for hauling services. As for payroll, Clark explained, “While my employees’ salary structure will remain the same, my plans including paring down 2 supervisor positions and creating 3 ‘boots on the ground’ staff members to serve East Montgomery County better. I’m condensing the management in order to achieve cost savings and provide more services to my constituents.”
Clark said, “Our capital expenditures have been reduced substantially for FY 18 due to an anticipated lack of need for additional equipment or fleet procurement during the next budget year. Tight scrutiny and analysis of accounts receivables has ensured prompt and proper accountability for fuel and repairs through interlock contracts.”
As for his whole budget, Clark added, ” Cost saving measures in the supply budget included efficiencies gained due to newer fleet/equipment savings on fuel, parts, and supplies in the Precinct 4 shop. With a new shop foreman in place, we’ve achieved tighter inventory control measures that have been highly beneficial to the taxpayers.”
The adopted budget for Clark’s department for Fiscal Year 2017 was $4,052,957, while his proposed budget for Fiscal Year 2018 is $3,695,057.
Clark’s department has completed 33 road projects so far during Fiscal Year 2017. Clark said he anticipates his road and bridge team will complete at least 9 more projects before September 30, 2017, the end of the Fiscal Year. “We’ve got 42 projects on tap and my Operations Manager, Billy Bob Lee, and I anticipate getting those done this year or early next year at the latest. Having 33 projects completed, we’re confident that we’ll reach our goal of 42 projects by the end of the Fiscal Year.”
“My team and I want to provide the most efficient, effective, and responsive government services delivered with professionalism, integrity, and compassion. We strive for positive results, quality customer service, and a safe community for our citizens,” Clark added.