The Golden Hammer Staff Reports
Conroe, August 3 – Among all of the local government authorities, it’s rare to find a representative of the people (supposedly) who actually has the courage to challenge the budget proposal of the remaining government officials on a board. So far, The Golden Hammer, Montgomery County’s leading daily newspaper, has found one official who had the courage to stand up to the remainder of her board: Peggy Hausman, a member of the policy-setting Board of Directors of the Montgomery Central Appraisal District (MCAD).
Not only did Hausman vote against the proposed MCAD Budget at the Board’s May 20, 2021, meeting, but also Hausman made a clear statement why she could not support the proposal to spend almost $1 million on a proposed contract to hire an outside company to challenge the homestead exemptions of many local taxpayers in order to boost tax collections throughout Montgomery County.
Hausman explained to this newspaper that she opposed the proposed contract expenditure until two things occurred first: (1) she wanted to know the actual price of the proposed contract, and (2) she wanted a salary survey completed before she voted to approve any new expenditures.
At the May 20 meeting of the MCAD Board, Hausman made the following statement, and specifically asked this newspaper not to “lump” her with the others on that Board of Directors:
“As we get into discussing our budget today the objective should be conducting ourselves as responsible stewards of our employers, the taxpayers entities contributions, via property taxes.
“Since this budget is significantly a payroll budget our objective should be respect and fairness to the employees of the district and respect and fairness to the taxpayers.
“It’s not doing what’s politically correct but demonstrating that this is a fiscally responsible board.
“With that said, thank you to Tony and your hard working staff.
“Now the hard truth. A Lot of people in Montgomery County have had a challenging 2020/21 in which we are starting off with a tremendous amount of uncertainty. Look no further than the current economic uncertainty of a county and country in transition.
“I’m sure we can all agree that its got to be difficult for the taxpayer to accept the 2021 increase in appraisals and a budget that reflects increased salaries, benefits and a retirement plan that if commonly known would raise more than a few eyebrows.
“Let us be the standard for the taxing entities we represent, regarding fiscal management as well as all appraisal districts throughout the state. For us to push for cost control.
“I’d also like to be on the record that if this board had been given the opportunity to vote for a 2021 appraisal freeze in light of the pandemic I would have whole heartedly supported this effort.
“With that said I look forward to a productive conversation on our compensation budget, health care budget and pension contribution budget, as well as our forward planing for the next 3 to 5 years.
“When all of the discussion is over and the facts with supporting documentation are on the table, I also look forward to a board vote documenting everyone’s vision for the next year and the future of MCAD.
“I also look forward to conversations that highlight employee retention by putting our compensation dollars that promote MCAD as an employer of choice for the median annual salary earner.
“Here’s a few examples of discussion points during the meeting.
“Discussion points regarding the pension plan
- As I understand it MCAD has no obligation to match any of the mandatory 6% employee contribution to TCDRS, How and why was the current 2.5 times match established and approved by prior Boards of Directors? For an example on each $50,000 of payroll the employees contribution is 6% or $3000 which would imply an MCAD matching contribution of $7,500 annually.
- Tony can you document what the average match is by other TCDRS entities and the high and low % match’s by entity?
- Another point of interest. I understand it from our conversation yesterday, when an employee separates with less than 8 years service, they receive all or a pro rata portion of there contribution?
“Can you please explain what happens to the forfeited matching contribution? Does it come back to MCAD and where?”
Rather than serving as the “standard for taxing entities,” the remainder of MCAD’s Board of Directors voted to approve the staff’s proposed budget, in lemming fashion, and sent that budget proposal on to the taxing authorities, such as the Montgomery County government and the school districts, which comprise most of the County taxpayers’ taxes, as the staff wanted it.
On July 27, the freespending Montgomery County Commissioners Court approved MCAD’s massive budget increase. Please “King of Taxes Strikes Again in Asking for Huge Budget Increase; Montgomery Central Appraisal District Seeks to Attack Taxpayers Homestead Exemptions,” The Golden Hammer, July 27, 2021. see https://thegoldenhammer.net/king-of-taxes-strikes-again-in-asking-for-huge-budget-increase-montgomery-appraisal-district-seeks-to-attack-taxpayers-homestead-exemptions/
MCAD requested a 2.37% Budget increase over the current Fiscal Year in order to pay approximately $950,000 for “Homestead Exemption Audit Services” in order to attack one of the few remaining exemptions available to protect local taxpayers from predatory property taxes of the Montgomery County government, local school districts, and other money-hungry governmental entities.
In response, the Commissioners Court – County Judge Mark Keough, Precinct 1 Commissioner Robert Walker, Precinct 2 Commissioner Charlie Riley, Precinct 3 Commissioner James Noack, and Precinct 4 Commissioner James Metts – happily approved the massive spending increase, for which taxpayers will bear the burden.