Conroe, July 28 – Under the pro-spending urging of Precinct 3 County Commissioner James Noack, who vehemently fought for a significant pay hike for himself, the Montgomery County Commissioners Court adopted a $344,228,039 “proposed budget” for Fiscal Year 2019, an increase in spending of $15,703,488. The Commissioners Court’s proposed budget, which they’ll adopt on the first Tuesday in September, will increase spending 4.9% to the highest rate of government spending in Montgomery County history.
The last day of the budget workshop revealed Noack’s leadership in seeking the government spending and tax increases ultimately resulting in a large salary raise for himself. Noack seemed to lead the entire discussion and often overran Doyal as presiding officer to ensure that spending increases got done.
Very pleased with the massive salary increase and increased spending the Commissioners Court members had voted themselves, Noack concluded the so-called “budget workshop” with “Thank y’all for everything!”
“Thank y’all for everything!” – – Precinct 3 County Commissioner James Noack, pleased with the 3% salary increase and massive increase in government spending he had just led the Montgomery County Commissioners Court to adopt on Friday, July 27, 2018.
The foregoing table shows that the Commissioners Court, which ignored the Citizens Budget Committee’s Fairness to Taxpayers Budget entirely, adopted a proposed budget more than $33 million higher than the Citizens Budget Committee’s. The Citizens Budget Committee recommended accepting all law enforcement requests for additional spending for public safety, however. The Commissioners Court rejected a number of public safety requests while ensuring to give themselves large pay raises.
Two law enforcement County government departments that are at the forefront of the war against crime are the Sheriff’s Office and the Precinct 4 Constable’s Office, both of which suffered significant cuts from the Commissioners Court in their budget requests, while the Citizens Budget Committee had recommended those proposed expenditures in their entirety. The difference, however, is that the Citizens Budget Committee looked closely at every County Department’s spending to identify waste and budget reductions that could occur without any reductions in service.
As to the Sheriff’s Office, which is the 9-1-1 agency and provides the vast majority of patrol officers:
The Sheriff’s Office Requested:
- 21 positions
The Commissioners Court Only Granted:
- 2 positions, one crime scene investigator and one civilian position.
Incredibly, the Sheriff’s Office’s proposed budget included operational cuts of $445,000, but the Commissioners Court greedily accepted those cuts but wouldn’t provide the necessary manpower for public safety.
As to the Precinct 4 Constable’s Office, which is the front line of the war against drugs in the entire United States, because Constable Rowdy Hayden’s team patrols the U.S. Highway 59 corridor in East Montgomery County:
The Precinct 4 Constable Requested:
- Two additional FTO stipends
- Two vehicles to replace current high mileage vehicles.
- Asked for three Deputy’s and a sergeant to create a DWI/traffic unit.
- Two Deputy’s to fill shift vacancies created from promotions.
- One detective
- $25,000 overtime funds.
The Commissioners Court Only Granted:
- $30,000 overtime funds
- One Deputy with vehicle and equipment
- One vehicle to replace high mileage vehicle.
Tax rate stays same, but it’s a 6% tax increase with property tax appraisals aggressively proceeding
The Commissioners Court voted to keep the 46.67 cents per $100 valuation tax rate the same. By keeping the tax rate the same with the aggressive property tax appraisal increases from the Appraisal District Board of Directors under the leadership of Precinct 1 County Commissioner Mike Meador, Precinct 2 County Commissioner Charlie Riley, and former Precinct 3 County Commissioner Ed Chance, Montgomery County taxpayers actually will suffer a 6% increase in their property taxes during Fiscal Year 2019.
The Commissioners took good care of themselves
The four County Commissioners, especially Noack, gave themselves substantial operational increases to their Commissioners Precinct budgets.
Noack, in particular, is working to build a vast bureaucracy under his direction and control inside of his Precinct 3 Office. As part of those efforts, Noack moved and the Commissioners Court accepted the idea of each County Commissioner hiring an engineer to work directly for them in their Precinct Office.
Those efforts may reflect the non-existent leadership of County Engineer Mark Mooney as well as the efforts of the County Commissioners to erect fiefdoms.
What the Commissioners Court still failed to do
The Commissioners Court, despite Noack’s repeated promises, failed to reduce the budget of the giant bureaucracy known as the County Auditor’s Department. Noack has repeatedly assured the citizens during Commissioners Court meetings that he would take that action to reflect the fact that the County Auditor no longer acts as the County government’s budget officer.
What will happen next
Budget Office Director Amanda Carter has promised she’ll make a copy of the proposed budget available on Tuesday, July 31, 2018. (Don’t hold your breath for that.)
There will be two public hearings on August 14 and August 28 during which the Commissioners Court will ignore citizen input.
The Commissioners Court will vote to adopt the budget workshop budget on Tuesday, September 4, 2018. If Precinct 4 Commissioner Jim Clark will not be there, due to health, the vote will be unanimous.
In shame, Noack did not respond to requests for comment.