Montgomery County taxpayers to take ultra-liberal County employee benefits as a right punch to the gut

Montgomery County Budget Office Director Amanda Carter spoke to the Commissioners Court on Tuesday, July 10, 2018.

Conroe, July 14 – With arrogant elitists solidly in charge of the Montgomery County government, the analysis with each budget decision is not “Is this decision best for the citizens of Montgomery County?” Rather, the analysis is purely “Is this decision best for the Montgomery County government and its employees?” Montgomery County, known throughout Texas as the most corrupt County government in the state because it’s a County government “for sale,” doesn’t work for the citizens; rather, the citizens slave away for the County government in the payment of property taxes, fees, fines, licenses, and tolls. Government spending growth in Montgomery County greatly exceeds the growth of the federal government and every other county government in Texas giving Montgomery County the apt title of “the most liberal and corrupt County” of all.

On Tuesday, July 10, 2018, Montgomery County Budget Office Director Amanda Carter spoke to the Commissioners Court about employee benefits. It was very apparent that Carter was merely a puppet for Montgomery County Auditor Phyllis Martin who had fed all of the information to Carter and who was able to answer the questions about Carter’s presentation during the meeting rather than Carter herself.

Montgomery County has one of the most lucrative employee medical plans of any governmental entity in the United States. The “funding factor,” or in human terms, how much it costs, will rise from $10,997.40 to $11,466.00 per year per full time employee. Therefore, when Precinct 1 County Commissioner Mike Meador adds an employee to his staff during the middle of each budget year, it’s not just the salary the taxpayers must pay. That employee is enjoying enormous benefits off of the public dole (with the taxpayers playing the role of the “public”).

One of the craziest benefits the Montgomery County government provides is retiree medical coverage. With Medicare and Obamcare in place, this coverage is completely unnecessary. Less than 1% of the Fortune 500 companies in the United States provide such coverage. The only good news is that the annual waste of taxpayers dollars will move slightly down from $9,500 to $9,320 per retiree per year. Just because we finally get some of this baggage off of the County payroll doesn’t mean the taxpayers aren’t still paying for them under the Doyal-Riley-Meador welfare state.

The worst increase the County government is inflicting on the taxpayers is from workers compensation, an annual self-insurance reserve payment. That payment will increase from $775,000 to $1,085,000, a 40% increase in one year. Such an unheard-of jump in cost reflects two important factors. First, the County Commissioners, County Judge Doyal, and the Risk Management Department are doing a monstrously terrible job managing workplace injuries in the County government. Second, they’re also doing a terrible job managing the actual self-insurance fund. The Insurance Journal, a trade periodical for the self-insurance industry, has reported that nationally the cost of workers compensation has steadily declined. Of course, poor management practices in the Montgomery County government could reverse almost any favorable economic trend.

Another factor which reflects the poor management of the County government and particularly its risk is the increase in the self-insurance payment – and related actuarial adjustments – for property and casualty coverage. That payment will increase 20% for Fiscal Year 2019, from $1,582,000.00 to $1,898,400.00. The primary factors requiring those actuarial adjustments are flooding and liabilities from the massive growth in the size of the Montgomery County government which has greatly exceeded the rate of growth of the population and inflation combined. The flooding, such as the terrible destruction from Tropical Storm Harvey, is almost entirely man-made flooding from the poor planning the Commissioners Court has done over the past two decades. Of course, the Montgomery County Engineer, whose primary activity is hitting a little white ball down a fairway, deserves much of the blame for flooding as well due to a failure to manage drainage and address those issues every time his office reviews and approves plats. While Tropical Storm Harvey came from Mother Nature, the terrible impact of that storm clearly was man-made. Please see “The Flooding Catastrophe From Tropical Storm Harvey Was Largely Man-Made,” The Golden Hammer, September 3, 2017.

There was one additional aspect of Carter’s and Martin’s presentation that was interesting. Despite the strict procedures and requirements for the manner in which a county government must provide notice and public hearings before adopting any portion of its budget, the Montgomery County Commissioners Court skipped several steps in that process and merely voted unanimously (four to zero, with Precinct 4 County Commissioner Jim Clark absent) in favor of adopting this increased spending. Oops. It wasn’t an impressive initial foray into budgeting for Montgomery County’s $300,000 per year Budget Office.

Carter’s (and Martin’s) memorandum announcing the hits to the taxpayers follows in its entirety.

 

Memorandum showing “funding factors” less happily known as employee benefits expenses.

 

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