The Golden Hammer Staff Reports
Conroe, August 26 – The Montgomery County Republican Party (MCRP) will conduct an emergency meeting of the Republican County Executive Committee (CEC) on Tuesday, September 1, 2020. Precinct 66 Chairman Adrian Kaiser and Party Treasurer John Hill Wertz, who is also a Precinct Chairman, were the instigators of the call for the emergency meeting.
The MCRP Bylaws require that twenty percent (20%) of the one hundred (100) precinct chairs join in the call for a special meeting. Kaiser explained that twenty-two (22) Precinct Chairs participated in the formal call for the meeting, at which Kaiser and others will put forward a resolution calling on the Montgomery County Commissioners Court not to raise taxes on Montgomery County citizens in the Fiscal Year 2021 Budget.
Kaiser explained to this newspaper, “The Republican Party is meant to be the party of low taxation. The Commissioners Court is raising taxes. If we didn’t have Coronavirus, I would be willing to have a conversation on what they’re spending the money on. At this point they’re raising taxes just for the sake of raising taxes. This issue is a good one for the local Republican Party to take a strong stance on it.”
The Commissioners Court has announced that it will cancel its previously-scheduled meeting for August 27, 2020, at 8:30 a.m. That meeting will occur on September 8.
The proponents of Big Government and giant government spending won another huge victory in the Montgomery County Commissioners Court on Friday, August 21 during a special meeting. By a 3 to 2 roll call vote, Precinct 2 Commissioner Charlie Riley, Precinct 4 Commissioner James Metts, and Precinct 1 Commissioner Mike Meador voted to re-approve the bloated Fiscal Year 2021 Budget, which would yield a substantial tax increase on Montgomery County taxpayers.
Action on setting the proposed tax rate and a final vote on the budget was occur on Thursday, August 27, 2020, at 8:30 a.m., but will now occur on September 8, 2020, instead, as a result of Hurricane Laura.
Precinct 3 Commissioner James Noack had wanted to defer any action on the budget until next week, but County Attorney B.D. Griffin and Assistant County Attorney Amy Dunham told the Court that legally that was not an option.
Montgomery County Tax Assessor-Collector Tammy McRae told the Commissioners Court, “Calculated tax rates are not going to change, but what will change are the revenue estimates based on those values [when the Montgomery Central Appraisal District finally provides certified tax values very late in the process on Monday or early next week].”
Dunham advised the members of the Commissioners Court that they could approve, reject, or amend the proposed budget. Clearly, the liberal bloc, which controls the County government, wanted to keep spending as high as possible, so that they could raise taxes on citizens in the midst of the Chinese Coronavirus government-mandated economic downturn.
The vote on adoption of the budget, which will result in a tax increase to local taxpayers, was three (Riley, Meador, Metts) to two (Noack, Keough).
The upcoming meeting to set the tax rate for Fiscal Year 2021. Section 81.006 of the Texas Tax Code requires that four of the five members of the Commissioners Court attend that meeting with three of the four voting for a tax rate above the “effective tax rate,” 43.19 cents per $100 valuation, the tax rate at which the Commissioners Court would not raise taxes on County taxpayers. Riley, Metts, and Meador want a 44.12 cents per $100 valuation tax rate, which would increase taxes. If both Keough and Precinct 3 Commissioner James Noack leave the Commissioners Court for that part of the meeting, there will be no quorum and, by law, the Commissioners Court would have to adopt the 43.19 cents tax rate, meaning there will be no new taxes.
The prospect of a tax increase occurred when Keough sided with the three liberals in favor of $4 million of new funds to spend on a Forensics Center, the total cost of which the Commissioners Court members have no idea, because there are no plans, estimates, or even proposals for the new capital project.
Precinct 3 Montgomery County Commissioner James Noack provided specific ways to save tax dollars and avoid a tax hike for Fiscal Year 2021 to his colleagues on the Commissioners Court on Tuesday, August 11, 2020, during a regular meeting. Nevertheless, Precinct 2 Commissioner Charlie Riley, who has become the liberal leader on the Commissioners Court and arguably a genuine center of power in Montgomery County, made it clear he didn’t want to discuss the issue.
Clearly, Riley was unprepared both during the July “budget workshop” and during the August 11 Commissioners Court to discuss specific department needs and priorities or to find any methods to avoid a huge tax hike on Montgomery County individuals, families, and businesses.
After a disastrous 3 to 2 vote on July 31, 2020, at the end of a “budget workshop” by the Montgomery County Commissioners Court to raise taxes substantially on beleaguered Montgomery County taxpayers, Noack, who was one of the two in the minority, attempted to convince his colleagues to change their minds and not raise taxes on Montgomery County citizens reeling from the disastrous economic fallout arising from the government panic in response to the Chinese Coronavirus scare.
Riley, Metts, and Meador all voted for the $4 million tax hike when they set the coming year’s tax rate at 44.12 cents per $100 valuation. As County Judge Mark Keough has noted, with aggressive increases in property tax appraisals, that tax rate constitutes a “substantial tax increase that people can’t afford.”