Image: 44th President B. Hussein Obama.
Conroe, August 5 – In Montgomery County Judge Craig Doyal’s world, B. Hussein Obama, the free-spending ultra-liberal 44th President of the United States, was a “fiscal conservative.” Please see full discussion below.
August 8 “public hearing”
The Montgomery County Commissioners Court will hold a public hearing on the proposed tax rate and budget on Tuesday, August 8, 2017, at the conclusion of its regular bi-weekly meeting. The Court will permit an “open forum that allows each citizen present to have a reasonable time to express their opinion on the proposed tax rate.”
Since the meeting is a “public hearing” on a specific topic, under Texas law, members of the Commissioners Court may respond and interact to citizen opinions during the meeting. Given the history of this Commissioners Court, such interactive communication between lowly citizens and the Commissioners Court members who regard themselves as an elite, is unlikely.
The “budget workshop” which the Court conducted from July 25 to July 28, 2017, was to have been the public hearing on the Proposed Budget for Fiscal Year 2018, which County Auditor Phyllis Martin filed with the County Clerk on July 14, 2017. After County Judge Craig Doyal and his “chief of staff” jim fredricks decided that they didn’t want citizen participation in the workshop, they instructed the Auditor and County Department heads to refer to the Proposed Budget as a “recommended budget.”
Doyal has now indicated that the only true public hearing that he will permit on a Proposed Budget will occur on September 5, 2017, the date when the Commissioners Court will actually adopt the Budget and set the tax rate officially. Therefore, it is unlikely that citizens will have any meaningful opportunity to participate in the actual budget process, which Doyal and fredricks have manipulated to be as closed and secretive as possible.
Failed spending and tax reduction effort: Doyal’s “budget workshop”
During the “budget workshop,” the Commissioners Court approved a Proposed Budget for Fiscal Year 2018 with $328,751,430 of spending from general government funds and approximately $30,000,000 of spending on internal service funds (property, casualty, and liability losses, pension payments, health insurance claims, workers compensation claims, and retiree health claims), for a total budget of approximately $358,751,430. The Fiscal Year 2017 Budget is $377,854,857. The operational expenses of the Montgomery County government for Fiscal Year 2018 will be the highest in the history of this County.
The proposed reduction in spending is 5.3% all of which came from an approximately $21 million in debt service which Precinct 3 County Commissioner James Noack instigated. In reality, the operational budget for the County government (which does not include debt service or internal service funds expenditures) actually rose for Fiscal Year 2018 to $295,158,031 from $292,493,015 in Fiscal Year 2017. That’s actually a spending increase for which no one in the County government should take any credit. What’s sad is that Noack and Precinct 4 County Commissioner Jim Clark each reduced their proposed Department spending budgets significantly and led other Department directors to do so as well. Those reductions were all for naught, because Doyal, Precinct 2 County Commissioner Charlie Riley, and Precinct 1 County Commmissioner Mike Meador found other items on which to spend taxes which exceeded those spending reductions.
Ironically, the Commissioners Court even approved spending $300,000 on a new bureaucracy, presumably and with futility under Doyal’s direction, called a Budget Office, which will likely find news ways to spend citizens’ tax dollars and rationalize new government spending. When the County government had a Budget Office, under Director Julane Tolbert, which had proposed reductions in spending, Doyal and Meador led a move to terminate Tolbert as quickly as possible.
Doyal’s Montgomery County versus the federal government under Obama
Citizens continue to take it on the chin. The County government’s spending has skyrocketed to more than $347,914,687 million from the $135,824,382 expenditures in the Fiscal Year 2006 Budget. Please note those numbers do not include Internal Service Funds. Since 2000, the County government’s budget has grown 424%. Since 2006, the County government’s budget has grown 256%. During the same period, the County’s population as grown from 394,131 in 2006 to the present population over 562,000, a 43% increase. In other words, the rate of County government spending growth has been six times the rate County population growth during the past eleven years. Meanwhile, during the same time period, the federal government’s budget has grown from $2.655 trillion in 2006 to $4.147 trillion in 2017, or growth of 56.7%.
Therefore, under President Obama, the federal government controlled the growth of government spending better than Montgomery County Judge Craig Doyal during the same time period. Doyal has claimed he’s a “fiscal conservative” and complained about the federal government’s spending growth. Doyal has presided over far more aggressive growth in spending. Only the Noack-led debt service reduction saved Doyal from another year of explosive spending growth. Even with the Noack, Clark, and County Department spending reductions, Doyal couldn’t offer Montgomery County taxpayers any reduction in the tax rate during the coming Fiscal Year.
Doyal initially voted against the 20% homestead exemption which the Commissioners Court approved in March. Only after Riley switched his vote to be in favor of the exemption did Doyal follow reluctantly.
Montgomery County’s government has subjected its citizens to a spending growth rate five (5) times the growth rate of the federal government! Craig Doyal makes Obama look like a “fiscal conservative.”
Now, that’s something about which to have a public hearing…