Conroe, August 21 – The Montgomery County Commissioners Court will hold a public hearing, as required under Texas law, on Friday, August 24, 2018, at 9:30 a.m., in the Commissioners Courtroom in Conroe, concerning the tax rate for Fiscal Year 2019, which will begin October 1, 2018. Lame duck Montgomery County Judge Craig Doyal and the four Commissioners Court members will likely handle the hearing in a perfunctory fashion. They don’t care about citizen input with respect to the County government’s budget.
The County government’s property tax rate of 46.67 cents per $100 valuation will remain the same during the coming Fiscal Year. The Commissioners Court failed to address wasteful spending in even one County department. Worse yet, the five elected servants failed even to examine any of the budgets of any County departments. Instead, they merely reviewed wish lists of each department head for new spending programs and decided which, if any, of those wishes they would grant.
The one County Department that engaged in zero-based budgeting, wherein each program and purpose had to justify all of its expenditures in light of minimum requirements to meet program goals, was the Sheriff’s Office. As a result of zero-based budgeting, Sheriff Rand Henderson reduced his operational budget by approximately $200,000 but asked for 24 new patrol officers and support personnel for additional public safety. The Commissioners Court denied all of Henderson’s requests for patrol officers.
At the direction of Doyal and three of the Commissioners – Precinct 3 Commissioner James Noack, Precinct 2 Commissioner Charlie Riley, Precinct 1 Commissioner Mike Meador – Budget Office Director Amanda Carter will not make the proposed County Budget available to the public until approximately August 30, 2018. As a result, the public will have little to no opportunity to review the actual proposed budget prior to the final public hearing and vote of the Commissioners Court on Tuesday, September 4, 2018.
Despite the secrecy, what is clear about the budget which the proposed tax rate will support is that it includes 3% raises the members of the Commissioners Court gave themselves and the other elected elite of Montgomery County.
At the same time, most oil and gas companies, which dominate free markets in the Greater Houston area, are trimming salaries
Here are the salary raises of some of the government officials (pretending to be “public servants”) in Montgomery County, which will go into effect on October 1, 2018:
County Judge Craig Doyal’s salary = $174,778.35 + annual benefits $70,435.68 = $245,214.03.
County Commissioners James Noack, Charlie Riley, Mike Meador, and Jim Clark = $173,871.68 + annual benefits $70,070.29 = $243,941.97.
County Attorney J.D. Lambright’s salary = $202,049.50 + annual benefits $81,425.95 = $283,475,45.
District Clerk Barbara Adamick = $129,974.63 + annual benefits $52,379.78 = 182,354.41.
Doyal’s “chief of staff” jim fredricks = $121,721.55 + annual benefits $49,035.78 = $170,757.33.
Librarian Jerilynne Williams = $142,675.96 + annual benefits $57,498.41 = $200,174.37.
Noack’s “chief of staff” and former Courier blogster Andy Dubois $103,745.39 + annual benefits $41,809.39 = $145,554.78. (This estimate is a minimum estimate.)
Less than part-time Receptionist and full-time Commissioner’s wife Deanne Riley = $70,345.67 + annual benefits $28,349.31 = $98,694.98.
Thanks to the raises that Precinct 2 County Commissioner Charlie Riley voted himself and for his wife, and thanks to the position Charlie Riley created for his wife and put her in that job position, the Rileys together will receive $342,636.95 from the taxpayers of Montgomery County during Fiscal Year 2019.
While the hearing on Friday, August 24, will focus on the tax rate, since the Commissioners Court has refused to disclose the proposed budget, it is still important to remember that they failed to reduce spending or take any control whatsoever of the budget, but continue to give themselves huge salary increases nonetheless.
The County Judge and Commissioners have failed miserably in their jobs but voted to give themselves a pay raise.