Conroe, March 27 – With the upcoming criminal Open Meetings case against County Judge Craig Doyal and Precinct 2 Commissioner Charlie Riley, numerous requests from citizens and other groups for County records under the Open Records Act, a quiet rebellion among County employees who are working closing with The Golden Hammer and private citizens to bring reform to Montgomery County which corruption, waste, and inefficiency has grossly racked, things are getting really, really weird in the County’s Sadler Administration Building and the County Auditor’s Office in particular. At the behest of the so-called “budget review committee” consisting of Precinct 1 County Commissioner Mike Meador and his “right hand” Doyal, Martin has greatly exceeded her position as County Auditor to engage in a political debate over the advisability of certain County spending and spending reduction proposals.
Martin has prepared three politically-tainted “budget committee reports” for the March 28 Commissioners Court meeting. Citizens undoubtedly may look forward to a highly-scripted exchange between Martin on the one hand and Doyal, Meador, and Riley on the other hand during the Court meeting.
Since the County Judge and County Commissioners are too lazy to conduct any sort of zero-based budgeting, line-by-line analysis of each County department’s budget, or cost necessity approach to budgeting, Doyal and Meador have caused Martin to make across-the-board-spending models in order to trick County citizens into believing that reductions in County spending are a bad thing. Yes, Virginia, haphazard spending reductions with no thought or planning are bad, just as the past 15 years of 428% increases in County spending explosions with no thought or planning – other than shouting “more, more, more!” – are absolutely terrible.
It is very apparent that Martin’s “models” have a primary purpose: try to fool County citizens into fearing spending reductions for non-law enforcement departments and fear spending increases for law enforcement. The County GOP Executive Committee overwhelmingly voted to endorse a resolution calling for the Montgomery County government to reduce County government spending drastically, to increase law enforcement funding substantially, and to enact a 20% homestead exemption. Martin, Doyal, Meador, and Riley are in a deep state of fear that the money sources for their wasteful spending, massive payments to engineering and other vendors, hefty salaries, and general overspending will dry up.
The Citizens Budget Committee, a non-government group of activists who are going through the County budget line-by-line, will present a budget proposal to the County government in early June that will reduce County government spending for non-law enforcement departments by $100 million, increase law enforcement spending by approximately $40 million, and yield a net $60 million budget cut that will easily support a 20% homestead exemption and a major reduction in the County government tax rate.
Martin, Doyal, and Meador projected that a 20% homestead exemption with 5.365% law enforcement increase would necessitate a 13.45% budget cut off all other departments. Of course, that projection is completely bogus, because there was NO DISPENSATION FOR INCREASES FROM THE MASSIVE APPRAISAL DISTRICT INCREASES AND INCREASES IN THE NUMBER OF PROPERTIES SUBJECT TO TAXATION!
The pro-spending Martin, Doyal, and Meador projected that a 20% homestead exemption with no law enforcement increase would necessitate an 11.25% budget cut for all county departments, numbers which, of course, directly contradict the projections of County Tax Assessor-Collector Tammy McRae who made a detailed presentation during the February 14, 2017, Commissioners Court meeting.
The big spending Martin, Doyal, and Meador project a 7.86% budget cut for all County departments with a 10% homestead exemption and a 5.365% law enforcement increase. Of course, Martin, Doyal, and Meador seek to increase County department spending in order to enlarge their fiefdom. With the same homestead exemption and no law enforcement increase, the bloated County departments of Doyal, Meador, and Martin would need to reduce their budgets 5.65%.
Martin, Doyal, and Meador who simply have not joined the real world have projected a 1.98% budget cut for all County departments with no homestead exemption, a 5% across-the-board budget cut for all County departments, and a 5.365% increase in law enforcement spending. Their projections make no sense, contradict each other, contradict the County’s already-adopted policies, and fail to take into account their massive tax increases through the appraisal district and increased number of property taxpayers.
Finally, these bizarre budget models end with a 5% across the board spending cut, no law enforcement spending increase, and somehow a 3.54 budget cut.
More Reports to Ignore
At the March 14, 2017, Commissioners Court meeting, Martin and her Commissioner-actor Charlie Riley engaged in a colloquy emphasizing that Martin’s reports concerning the carryover of unspent budget funds from one fiscal year to the next should be ignored. Since such reports are irrelevant and useless in Martin’s opinion, and since she spent substantial County time with the numerous employees of her office allegedly “brainstorming” why citizens should ignore those reports, Martin has chosen to provide amended reports to the Commissioners Court again.
Martin has provided a report for Association Dues, Account 7481, under the “Non-Departmental” budget of the Fiscal Year 2017 Budget of the County. Of course, it’s difficult for anyone to follow the actual status of the County Budget for two primary reasons. First, thanks to the ineptitude of the County Information Technology Department which works to confuse closely with the County Auditor’s Office, the published County Budget keeps changing on the County’s amazingly awful website. Second, the County Commissioners pass so many secret “budget amendments” that the $60,000 Account 7481 budget, which the Commissioners Court passed after their “play and pretend” open budget hearings during the summer of 2016, has somehow blossomed into a $119,449.00 budget. Martin’s report is 74 pages long and largely consists of incomprehensible drivel. The report does reveal that citizens’ county tax dollars support the left-leaning, anti-citizen, pro-government-spending Texas Association of Counties, which is presently vociferously lobbying the Texas Legislature against any sort of property tax relief, and that county tax dollars disappear to a wide variety of other QUANGOs.