The Golden Hammer Staff Reports
Conroe and The Woodlands, February 23 – Precinct 3 Montgomery County Ryan Gable, whose office is in The Woodlands, has proposed a $29,213 law enforcement expenditure, which taxpayers should applaud. Gable seeks to spend $29,213 for his law enforcement department “from contingency” funds previously transferred from his department as a result of vacancies.
Gable will present his request to the Montgomery County Commissioners Court at its regular meeting today, Tuesday, February 23, 2021, at 9:30 a.m.
Although County government spending is out of control, law enforcement departments generally have done a better job with their budget controls than the remainder of the Montgomery County government.
Budget amendments during the middle of a Fiscal Year usually are irksome, especially when the propose increases in expenditures. In this instance, however, Gable proposes to take dollars, previously earmarked for salaries, and put them into the purchase of a vehicle and equipment to outfit that vehicle.
The County government has a bloated spending budget primarily because of salary inflation and vastly more employees than the taxpayers should have to fund. If Gable were requesting a new salaried position, then taxpayers would be on the hook for the position in future budget years. A proposal to take funds away from salaries and move them into law enforcement equipment will provide taxpayers with important equipment without facing the fiscal risk that they’ll have to pay for additional salaries in Fiscal Year 2022, which begins October 1, 2021.
Of course, if Gable comes back to the Commissioners Court during the “budget hearings” for Fiscal Year 2022 and requests additional salaried positions, the Commissioners Court should gently remind him that he opted not to fill earlier positions and chose a capital expenditure instead.
In other proposed action, the Commissioners Court will spend $4,011,363.84 in approving 120 pages of unclassified spending requests in the secretive “consent” agenda under “payment of accounts.” The members of the Court will approve the requests blindly without knowledge or understanding of what they will approve.
The Animal Shelter will seek $309,400 for removal of the current animal incinerator and installation of a new one. Hopefully, the Commissioners Court will not approve that request, unless, the Shelter takes $309,400 out of current salaries and benefits, since the Animal Shelter Director should have included this major capital expenditure in his budget request for the current Fiscal Year 2021.
The Commissioners Court seems to revel in the expenditure of “other people’s money” during so-called “disasters.” The Court will consider further action to spend federal COVID-19 dollars, expand the County government’s involvement in the direct delivery of healthcare during the COVID-19 panic, and consider additional ways to spend tax dollars as a result of the winter weather recently declared a disaster.