Conroe, August 7 – A proposed payment to what JP James Metts refers to as a “free” collection service in the amount of $24,504.99 overshadows the August 8, 2017, 9:30 a.m., Commissioners Court meeting. The payment to Graves Humphries law firm is part of the Graves Humphries/NetData collection and JP court database fiasco which Metts and local political boss Marc Davenport foisted upon the County government. The four JP courts which utilize the NetData database and Graves Humphries for court fee and fine collections have a substantially lower collection rate than does Precinct 3 Justice of the Peace Edie Connelly, who utilizes the County government’s far more efficient Court Collections Department.
Unfortunately, the Graves Humphries payment is part of the payment of accounts on the Commissioners Court “consent agenda,” an 8-page single-spaced agenda with secretive items loaded into it for which the Court members will likely hold no discussion.
Agenda Item 9A2: Consider and Approve Payment of Accounts. 78 pages with $7.155 of bills and expenses none of which any eyes of the Commissioners Court will review or even discuss. The bills include $98,122 of payments to Halff Associates, the engineering firm of Bobby Jack Adams, Craig Doyal’s best friend and business partner. The bills also include $77,420.92 for the Tx-249 Taxway, the $73 million 3.6 mile tollroad project on which Montgomery County voters have never had an opportunity to vote. There are hundreds of thousands of dollars in full retail price payments to Sherwin Williams and other retail outlets as well as payments on the County’s credit card for which there is no accounting. The County is paying Wayne Mack $438 with no explanation.
Agenda Item 9A3: $127,529.34 labeled as “emergency” expenditures and “grave public necessities” such as $209.65 for travel expense for the emergency management department to attend a meeting. One of the budget amendments is to pay an increased expenditure under the contract for the Joe Corley Detention facility in the amount of $52,091.93.
Agenda Item 9D: Several hundred thousand dollars of purchasing contracts for approval with no discussion. Item 9D8 is the carefully worded item “Approve Rejecting Project #2016-0034 RPF…”
Agenda Item 9G: Payroll change requests. No list of the payroll changes included with the agenda.
Agenda Item 11B: Doyal placed on the agenda to discuss setting the salary, expenses, and allowances for County officials for Fiscal Year 2018. Wouldn’t it be great to see some leadership with a salary reduction of 25% across-the-board for all County elected officials?
Agenda Item 12A includes selection of the public members of a salary grievance committee.
Agenda Item 21: Tax Assessor-Collector Tammy McRae will propose another tax abatement agreement. Considering how much trouble the County has had enforcing those agreements, it’s truly disgusting that the Commissioners Court refuses to post any information about the proposed tax abatement agreement before the meeting. That’s how secret government operates.
Agenda Item 22A: Discuss appointment to Animal Shelter Advisory Committee. There’s no open information about the proposed appointments. It’s a big political secret.
Agenda Item 23: There are approximately $330,000 of contracts for road construction in Precincts 1 and 3.
Agenda Item 25A1: Precinct 2 County Commissioner Charlie Riley is putting forward an agreement to contribute right of way funds for improvements to FM 1488 with the Texas Department of Transportation. The plan is very secretive. Here’s how Riley explains the proposed funding source: “Funding Source will be 6134015-7598582-RD200052.” Isn’t that informative to the public?! (It means that Riley is paying for the rights of way through a Montgomery County Match but the amount is unspecified.)
It’s called “secret government.”