Conroe, June 21 – Precinct 3 Montgomery County Commissioner James Noack is once again showing strong leadership on the County government budget year, although his methodology is a bit different from last year. Noack has proposed major reductions in his Precinct 3 County Commissioner’s Budget for Fiscal Year 2019.
Facing major limitations on spending as a result of the high tax rate the Montgomery County government has already imposed but tepid growth in County tax revenue, which seems to be responding to the high cost of owning real estate in this community under the steady appraisal district increases the Commissioners Court has spearheaded, the Montgomery County government doesn’t have the money for increased spending it has enjoyed in the past. Unfortunately, very few County Departments have shown the fiscal restraint that Noack has shown in his requested budget for the upcoming fiscal year.
For the Fiscal Year 2018 budget, Noack proposed a 5% across-the-board spending reduction for all County Departments. While Noack hasn’t done the same this year, he proposed a 7.25% spending reduction for his own County Department, a lead which other Departments should consider following (at a minimum). Noack’s gigantic positive impact on the budget last year was in his advice to County Auditor Phyllis Martin on how to achieve a $22 million savings by the defeasance of certain bond debt. That savings alone ultimately saved Montgomery County taxpayers from a major tax increase at the hands of freestanding County Judge Craig Doyal and Precinct 2 County Commissioner Charlie Riley.
For the budget this coming year, Fiscal Year 2019, Noack has proposed to cut his own budget by $375,391 out of his total $5,559,780 budget for the current Fiscal Year 2018. While Noack has proposed to keep his salary flat at $168,808, he has proposed a $65,000 reduction in other salaries for his Precinct 3 Department by elimination of some positions. Those salary reductions also bring with them a reduction in County employee benefits for those positions as well.
Noack has also proposed reducing his asphalt and road materials budget by $132,000 to $700,000, a reflection that Noack has adequately planned for future road needs by careful long-term planning in the South Montgomery County Mobility Plan that he previously commissioned. The Precinct 3 Commissioner’s proposed budget would also reduce spending in several other budget categories.
Noack’s 7.25% spending reduction is particularly significant, because it tracks the proposal of the Citizens Budget Committee to reduce total County government spending by $20 million for Fiscal Year 2019. If other County Department followed Noack’s lead, the entire County government would meet the Citizens Budget Committee goal.
The Citizens Budget Committee has set a goal of $100 million of spending reductions over the next four fiscal years with increases of $20 million for law enforcement and $20 million in a capital improvements fund, for net annual savings of $60 million.