Commissioner Noack joined Montgomery County Judge Keough, Citizens Budget Committee in calling for County government spending reductions for Fiscal Year 2020

Commissioner Noack joined Montgomery County Judge Keough, Citizens Budget Committee in calling for County government spending reductions for Fiscal Year 2020

Image: Precinct 3 Montgomery County Commissioner James Noack (left) and his natural ally, Montgomery County Judge Mark Keough (right).

Conroe, April 13 – Precinct 3 Montgomery County Commissioner James Noack, Republican of The Woodlands, issued a letter on Friday afternoon, April 12, 2019, which the Commissioner sent to all County government department heads and all elected servants (other than members of the Commissioners Court) calling “…to reduce the budget…” for the next Fiscal Year, 2020. Noack’s call for budget reductions joins with those same calls from recently-elected Montgomery County Judge Mark Keough as well as the Citizens Budget Committee.

While pro-Big-Government spending Precinct 2 Montgomery County Commissioner Charlie Riley and his protege, disgraced former County Judge Craig Doyal whom Keough defeated by landslide margins in the March, 2018, Republican Primary Election, have together fought for massive increases in the County government’s budget during the past fifteen years, while claiming the growth of the County’s population and the inflation rate justify such profligate spending, Noack has often argued that spending increases should actually be substantially lower than population growth and inflation. Specifically, Noack has argued in past Commissioners Court meetings and budget sessions that the Montgomery County government should find “economies of scale” so that spending growth is actually lower than population growth and inflation.

The Republican Party of Texas Platform calls for lower local government spending but also sets the growth of inflation and population as a “ceiling” on the growth of local government spending.

The County government spending growth numbers for Montgomery County are staggeringly shameful. Under Doyal, Riley, and Precinct 1 County Commissioner Mike Meador, government spending growth has been much faster for the Montgomery County government than even the federal government.

Shameful spending growth during past 14 years: 2005 to 2019

In 2005, the County government’s total expenditures were $119,777,565. Only fourteen years later, in Fiscal Year 2019, the County government’s spending as tripled to $344,381,573. During that same time period population in Montgomery County grew from 372,993 in 2005 to approximately 576,000 in 2019, according to the United States Census Bureau, an increase in population of 54.43%.

Between 2005 and 2019, there was inflation of 55.81%, according to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics.

By those numbers the increase in the size of Montgomery County’s government should have grown no more than 110.24% between 2004 and 2019 to a ceiling spending amount of $251,820,353. Therefore, Doyal, Riley, and Meador pushed Montgomery County government spending – and taxation – $92,561,220 more than the level to which it should have grown, or $344,381,573.

By those numbers the increase in the size of Montgomery County’s government should have grown no more than 110.24% between 2004 and 2019 to a ceiling spending amount of $251,820,353. Therefore, Doyal, Riley, and Meador pushed Montgomery County government spending – and taxation – $92,561,220 more than the level to which it should have grown, or $344,381,573.

How Riley, Meador, and Doyal got away with so much wasteful spending

Riley, Meador, and Doyal got away with so much wasteful spending in two manners. First, by manipulating property tax appraisals higher and higher, through the Montgomery Central Appraisal District Board of Directors, they were able to increase taxes by holding the “tax rate” somewhat flat. Riley, Meador, and Doyal have continuously lied to Montgomery County citizens by claiming they held taxes low or even reduced them with respect to the “tax rate” but, in fact, they pushed property tax appraisals enormously higher. Remember, a citizen’s tax bill is the product of the tax rate and the property tax appraisal:

Tax rate x Property Tax Appraisal = Tax.

Riley and Meador both served on the Board of Directors of the Appraisal District, which such Board has set the reappraisal policy to ensure ever increasing property taxation to support their and Doyal’s lust for more and more property taxes. Meador currently serves as Chairman of the Appraisal District Board of Directors.

Keough

When Keough ran for Montgomery County Judge, he made several commitments to the voters in his “Contract With Montgomery County.” Among those commitments, the “People’s County Judge” promised:

“a. I will work to reduce the tax rate of the county to account for increases in total property values throughout the county. Appraisal goes up, rate should come down.

“b. I will eliminate wasteful spending in our budget and ensure budget growth stays at or below population growth plus inflation.”

Keough’s assurances that he would bring County government spending under control and fight for actual reductions in spending, rather than phony mere reductions in the tax rate (while property tax appraisals continued to skyrocket), resulted in Keough’s landslide win with 57% of the vote in the March Republican Primary and with 74.64% in the November General Election.

When Keough became Montgomery County Judge, his first action was to reduce his own salary by approximately twelve percent (12%), as Keough had promised he would.

Keough has repeatedly fought against spending increases since January 1, 2019, when he came into office. In particular, Keough has opposed the use of the County’s “contingency fund” to support higher spending in the middle of the Budget Year.

Citizens Budget Committee

The Citizens Budget Committee’s new Chairman, Jon Paul Bouche, called upon the Montgomery County Commissioners Court to reduce County government spending by one percent (1%) in the Fiscal Year 2020 Budget during the Tuesday, March 19, 2019, Commissioners Court meeting. Bouche, who is a Republican Precinct Chairman, member of the Montgomery County Republican Party Steering Committee, and Director of the Lone Star Groundwater Conservation District, asked Montgomery County Judge Mark Keough and the four Commissioners to reduce County government spending by $3,443,815 to $340,937,757 for FY 2020.

Bouche explained, “The members of our Commissioners Court often tell us how they are the experts in County government operations. The Citizens Budget Committee, therefore, takes them at their word. Since they’re the experts, we’re leaving the specific spending reductions to them to figure out and implement.”

Bouche discussed County government growth since 2010 and also told the Commissioners Court on March 19:

“Since 2010, the population growth of Montgomery County has been 25.27% and during that same period, inflation has been a total of 15.7%.

“So, following this formula, this means that local government spending since 2010 should not have increased by more than 40.97%.

“Unfortunately, our County government spending has grown 61.67% during this same period, which means that our current budget is about $44 million larger this year than it should be.

“The truth is that since 2010, Montgomery County’s government spending has consistently grown faster than most of the top 20 largest counties in Texas, yet we are NOT the largest county nor are we the fastest growing of those counties.




“So we are requesting that you approach the FY 2020 Budget with a goal of reducing County government spending by a mere one percent (1%), for a total FY 2020 budget of $340,937,757. [Publisher’s note: That’s a spending reduction of $3,443,816 from the current budget of $344,381,573.]

“We also request that you reduce the tax rate accordingly to offset appraisal growth so that this provides some real relief for your constituents.  We have no idea what if anything is going to happen in this legislative session in Austin, so we must take action locally and that is what we are asking you to do.”

Noack

Noack joined Keough and the Citizens Budget Committee in calling for actual spending reductions in the Montgomery County government for the Fiscal Year 2020 Budget when Noack sent his letter to the County Department Directors and elected servants.

The entirety of Noack’s April 12, 2019, letter appears immediately below.

Letter from Precinct 3 Montgomery County Commissioner James Noack to all Montgomery County government Department Directors and elected servants, April 12, 2019. Noack confirmed he did not send the letter to his colleagues on the Montgomery County Commissioners Court.

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