Conroe, April 23 – Precinct 3 Montgomery County Commissioner James Noack’s proposal to save taxpayers $7.1 million by the early payoff of long-term debt highlights the April 23, 2019, Commissioners Court meeting. Noack told The Golden Hammer, “This proposal is just a first step. I realize that we need to achieve at least a one percent (1%) reduction in spending across all County Departments in order to give citizens the tax relief they deserve.”
Noack is proposing $7.1 million in budget reductions through early payoff of long-term debt. Through discussions with Montgomery County Auditor Rakesh Pandey, Noack confirmed that there are excess funds in the debt service fund balance and has proposed using that money for a significant cash defeasance.
“This money should go to work for Montgomery County taxpayers, not sit idle in an account,” Noack said. The Commissioner has asked the County’s financial adviser to give a presentation explaining the benefits of this proposal during the Commissioners Court meeting, when Noack will ask the court to approve the early debt payoff.
After reviewing several options to achieve the desired reduction in debt service requirements, Commissioner Noack is proposing the use of $6,970,602 in the debt service fund balance to purchase a portfolio of eligible securities, which will be deposited into an escrow account. The County would structure the portfolio to generate sufficient cash flow to pay off the Series 2014A bonds at maturity, including the entire 2020 maturity of $4,855,000 and a portion of the 2021 maturity of $1,800,000. This action would result in a $5,097,125 budget reduction for 2020 and a $1,845,000 budget reduction in 2021, in addition to a $167,125 reduction for 2019, thereby providing taxpayers savings of $138,648 in interest alone, assuming the County government then reduces the tax rate accordingly at the time of approving the budget in September.
Other agenda items
Montgomery County Judge Mark Keough, the “People’s Judge,” has placed an item on the agenda for the Montgomery County Commissioners Court to endorse House Bill 511, which would allow licensed peace officers to enforce Chapter 644 of the Texas Transportation Code, which concerns efforts to prevent oversized commercial vehicles from damaging County roads. State Representative Steve Toth (R-The Woodlands) has worked with the bill’s author, State Representative Terry Wilson (R-Marble Falls), to move the legislation forward in the Texas House of Representatives.
The secretive “consent agenda” includes an audit by Pandey which found that Precinct 4 County Commissioner James Metts and his Chief of Staff, terminated County Auditor Phyllis Martin, which such audit concluded there were twenty-nine (29) errors with respect to time entries and the submission of time cards and data for the period ending February 22, 2019, in the Commissioner Precinct 4 Office.
The County government’s Purchasing Department will propose to give Wavemedia, Inc., a contract to provide Internet Service to several County Departments. Many County Department Directors have refused to do any business with Phonoscope, the company which corrupt local political boss Marc Davenport tried to bring in as a vendor to the County government and which competes with Wavemedia.
Also on the secretive “consent agenda” is a nomination by Metts of Jerry Sue Hayden, the mother of Precinct 4 Constable Rowdy Hayden, to the CDBG Montgomery County Community Development Board of Directors. Hayden had previously worked for Metts when Metts drew a salary as a JP.
An historic agenda item in favor of transparency and openness is Montgomery County Tax Assessor-Collector Tammy McRae’s public disclosure of the name of a company, Gearn Offshore, Inc., whom she is recommending as the recipient of a tax abatement agreement with the County government. Citizens should show gratitude to McRae for beginning this practice of openness.