Conroe, August 12 – During four days of meetings, from July 24 to July 27, 2018, the Montgomery County Commissioners Court trashed the future. As an all-Republican Commissioners Court, they had the opportunity to show national leadership by revealing that representatives elected from one of the most conservative groups of voters in all of the United States could tighten their own belts and show the path for other governmental bodies throughout America to do the same.
As long as representatives from a conservative Republican community like Montgomery County can’t show that leadership, it is unreasonable for us to believe that any governmental body would take the need to reduce government spending seriously. In reality, the growth of communities should reduce spending and tax rates, due to economies of scale, but, instead, Montgomery County Judge Craig Doyal, Precinct 3 County Commissioner James Noack, Precinct 2 County Commissioner Charlie Riley, and Precinct 1 County Commissioner Mike Meador are growing Montgomery County government spending at a record pace.
How out of control are these free spenders?
The Golden Hammer, Montgomery County’s leading daily newspaper, has examined the numbers between 2006 and 2019 for the Montgomery County government budget. Remember that Fiscal Year 2019 will begin on October 1, 2018. The numbers are horrifying.
One of the rationales that the free spending Doyal-Noack-Riley-Meador use to justify their out-of-control spending growth is population growth. Since 2006, the population of Montgomery County has grown from 393,601 in 2006 to 570,934 today, according to the United States Census Bureau. That’s 45.95% growth.
Another rationale that the free spenders, Doyal-Noack-Riley-Meador use is inflation. According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, which promulgates the Consumer Price Index, there as been 25.00% inflation between 2006 and the present.
Just to help them out, let’s add population growth plus inflation to get 70.95%.
Hopefully, you’re sitting down for the next part. In 2006, total governmental expenditures of the Montgomery County government were $135,824,382. With a 70.95% growth rate, that would mean the budget for Fiscal Year 2019 should be $232.191 million. Hold onto your seats. The Fiscal Year 2019 Budget which Doyal-Noack-Riley-Meador have already endorsed will be $344,288,039, or a 253.44% increase over 13 years!
Of course, it’s highly questionable why spending even should grow as fast as the growth in population plus inflation. Even Noack has admitted that there should be economies of scale, so that spending growth should be considerably lower.
Nevertheless, it’s important to understand how poorly Doyal-Noack-Riley-Meador do mathematics. Here’s their calculation:
Population Growth + Inflation = Maximum Spending Growth Allowable
45.95% + 25.00% = 253.44% (!!!???)
Please don’t ever believe that any of these guys came from any sort of financial or business background. It’s questionable whether they graduated beyond the 2nd grade.
July 24, 2018, Commissioners Court
The five-member Commissioners Court, all of whom are Republicans, violated the Platform on almost every vote. Precinct 4 County Commissioner Jim Clark was absent. The other four violated Plank 144 in particular, which provides:
“144. Government Spending: Government Spending is out of control at the federal, state, and local levels, and action is needed.”
The editorial staff of this newspaper sincerely hopes that Plank 144 is simple enough that even the members of the Montgomery County Commissioners Court might understand it.
The Golden Hammer‘s rating system follows the Platform of the Republican Party of Texas. The Republican Party just adopted a new Platform on June 17, 2018. In order to assist the members of the Commissioners Court, particularly those three or so who have obviously never read the Platform of the Republican Party of Texas on which they ran for office, this newspaper will begin to refer to the appropriate Platform Plank for each item on the Commissioners Court Agenda which this newspaper rates.
The Golden Hammer‘s ratings measure Commissioners Court votes that affect spending in comparison to the provisions of the Republican Party of Texas Platform. Points are good. The number of points depends upon the amount of money involved in each vote.
Commissioners Court meeting, July 24, 2018, 9:30 a.m. All Court members were physically present with the exception of Precinct 4 County Commissioner Jim Clark who is fighting for his life and battling the effects of radiation treatment and chemotherapy.
Vote #1: One of the first actions the Commissioners Court took on Tuesday, July 24, was to approve spending an additional $11,831,078.07. Those expenditures have received no oversight whatsoever. The payments included $1.99 million for the TX 249 Tollway as well. In other words, Noack voted both for the Tollway! They don’t care, because they’re spending other people’s money. 25 points. “No” vote appropriate. Unanimous vote in favor.
Vote #2: 29 budget amendments totaling more than $129 million. All of those budget amendments reveal how poorly the Montgomery County government does managing its budget. In the same time period when the County government has passed over 200 budget amendments, the City of Conroe’s government has passed four amendments almost all pertaining to emergency expenditures related to Tropical Storm Harvey. Once again, Noack voted in favor of funding the entire Tollway on this vote. This vote was of massive import. 500 points. No vote appropriate. Unanimous vote.
Vote #3: Approve purchasing agreements and change orders totaling over $2.2 million without any discussion or oversight. 10 points. No vote appropriate. Unanimous vote in favor.
Vote #4:The Harris County Flood Control District has submitted an application to the Texas Department of Emergency Management (“TDEM”) pursuant to TDEM’s Hazard Mitigation Grant Program for grant funding to undertake a regional flood protection planning project known as the San Jacinto River Regional Watershed Study. The TDEM grant requires a local share for the funding. Rather than turning to SJRA to pay the entire local share, since flood control is SJRA’s statutory authority, Doyal, who has a close social and financial connection to SJRA and its primary engineering vendor Halff Associates, Inc., has agreed, on behalf of Montgomery County taxpayers to pay a larger portion of the local share than the SJRA! Under Doyal’s terrible deal that he conjured up with his SJRA pals, Montgomery County taxpayers would be on the hook for $169,262.98 of the funds, SJRA would only have to pay $135,410.38, while the City of Houston and the Harris County Flood Control District would pay the remaining $372,378.55. Doyal clearly is doing everything he can to protect the money of SJRA, despite SJRA’s massive stash of unrestricted cash from its monopolistic sales of water to Montgomery County citizens, municipalities, and utility companies. No vote appropriate under the circumstances. Major vote. 25 points. Unanimous vote in favor.
Vote #5: Approve new resident Alexus Sham who is a pro-immigration, anti-Trump, liberal to serve on Montgomery County Historical Commission. 10 points. No vote appropriate. Passed 3 to 1 (Noack dissenting).
Vote #6: Pay $50,000 to Weaver and Tidwell accounting to conduct an audit that does nothing but accept the audit work of County Auditor Phyllis Martin, in violation of Generally Accepted Accounting Principles and Generally Accepted Accounting Standards under the Standards promulgated from the United States General Accountability Office. Major vote. 25 points. No vote appropriate. Unanimous vote in favor.
Vote #7: Spend $187,891.56 to paint the Mental Health Facility. 10 points. No vote appropriate. Unanimous vote in favor.
Vote #1: Precinct 3 Montgomery County Commissioner James Noack, who has made clear that he would do just about anything as far as voting with the liberal-leading members of the Commissioners Court during the past year so that they would join with him to give themselves pay raises, did just that on Friday, July 27, 2018, when they voted themselves a 3% across-the board salary increase as part of the pretext of an across-the-board pay increase for all County employees. The self-awarded salary increase will bring the salary of Noack and the other County Commissioners to $173,872 per year, a $5,064 pay raise over their current salaries. With County employee benefits, Noack and the other County Commissioners will receive a whopping $243,942 in taxpayer-funded compensation. Noack’s desire to give himself a pay raise has seemed to be the driving force behind his every action since July 28, 2018. 500 point vote. A “no” vote was the only acceptable vote. Unanimous consent in favor. Since Clark was absent, this vote won’t count against his score.
Vote #2: 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. 2500 point vote. A “no” vote was the only acceptable vote. Unanimous consent in favor. Since Clark was absent, this vote won’t count against his score.
Scores for the July 24, 2018, meeting, as well as the two ultimate consent votes in the “budget workshop” on July 27, 2018, follow.
DOYAL 0/3,605. Grade F.
MEADOR 0/3,605. Grade F.
RILEY 0/3,605. Grade F.
NOACK 10/3,605. Grade F.
CLARK 0/0. Grade I.
The following are the cumulative scores for Fiscal Year 2018, which began October 1, 2017.
DOYAL -2,315/12,384. Grade F.
MEADOR -470/12,384. Grade F.
RILEY -470/12,384. Grade F.
NOACK 6,896/12,384. Grade F.
CLARK 7,920/8,779. Grade A-.
The citizens must remain vigilant. Noack has chosen to destroy the future of his children and our children, so that he may enjoy a hefty salary increase for spending other people’s money right now. He’s turned his back on his base of supporters.