Image: Riding a thermonuclear bomb of explosive government spending into the future, the Montgomery County Commissioners spent more than $6 million of County funds in a brief period on three pet projects of Precinct 2 County Commissioner Charlie Riley, Precinct 1 County Commissioner Mike Meador, and County Auditor Phyllis Martin. (Photograph of Major T.J. “King” Kong in the final scene of Dr. Strangelove, the greatest movie ever made.)
Conroe, June 28 – The Montgomery County Commissioners Court went on a thermonuclear spending spree on Tuesday, June 27, 2017, during a regular meeting, after County Auditor Phyllis Martin dangled $5 million of unspent borrowed funds, which the Commissioners Court should simply have paid back. Instead, in a brief period of time, County Judge Craig Doyal, Precinct 1 County Commissioner Mike Meador, Precinct 2 County Commissioner Charlie Riley, and Precinct 4 County Commissioner Jim Clark spent $5,551,800. The freewheeling spenders lit the fuse and blew the County’s fisc on three projects.
$633,800 for a parallel taxiway for the almost empty Montgomery County Airport
Airports construct parallel taxiways to relieve congestion. The Montgomery County Airport is almost empty at all times.
Meador explained, “this project is something we don’t need to pass up.” As a result, the Commissioners Court voted to spend $633,800 for the parallel taxiway the total price of which will be more than $6.3 million, which will come from a Texas Department of Transportation grant. The $633,800 of County funds will come from borrowing the money in accordance with a 2012 “Certificate of Obligation” Martin reminded the Commissioners Court they had not yet spent. Of course, Montgomery County taxpayers will have to repay the $633,800, plus interest, while Doyal, Riley, Meador, and Clark may take the credit for this crazed spending project.
Perhaps, the craziest aspect of Meador’s argument in favor of blowing these funds was his claim that a 1985 study called for spending these funds on a parallel taxiway. The vote in favor of spending these funds for a taxiway this largely-unused airport will like not need for decades is an example of terrible government planning and waste at its worst.
$418,000 on a consultant for some sort of unknown project lit the fuse.
The Commissioners Court continued the fateful morning of spending by voting unanimously to spend $418,000 on Plante Moran, a consulting firm that would provide some sort of implementation for the Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software. Doyal, Meador, and Clark made clear that they had no clue whatsoever what Plante Moran would do for this massive amount of money. They also made clear that they had little understanding of what the ERP software would even do.
When Meador asked County Auditor Phyllis Martin whether this consulting payment was necessary, Martin sneered back at him that she felt this project was important so we could eventually save money. Doyal, with the blankest of stares, chimed in “well, if we can save money on future change orders, I’m all for it.” Martin agreed.
With Noack absent from the meeting, the vote was 4 to 0 in favor of spending $418,000 on something none of them understood.
The final thermonuclear blow: spending at least $4.5 million on an building with no plans, no engineering studies, no estimates, and no designs
When a child has a few pennies in his pocket inside of a candy store, there’s a near certainty that his pocket will be empty before he leaves the store.
Riley ensured that the Commissioners Court wasted the entirety of the remaining funds of the unspent $5 million certificate of obligation on his motion to build an upgrade to an existing building in Commissioners Precinct 2 for a larger Sheriff substation in the Magnolia area. Riley admitted that there are no plans, engineering studies, or designs for the project. He estimated the cost would be “4 to $4.5 million to renovate the building out there.”
No contractor or anyone else has done a serious estimate of the cost, because it’s difficult to do so when there are no plans or designs.
Riley and the Commissioners Court spent all of that money, because it was there.
They’re worse than a child in a candy store. At least the child only has a few pennies of his own money. Doyal, Riley, Meador, and Clark showed no care whatsoever for
of taxpayers money in their hands.