Riley’s biggest lie: he didn’t cut spending this Fiscal Year; instead, he increased it MASSIVELY

Riley’s biggest lie: he didn’t cut spending this Fiscal Year; instead, he increased it MASSIVELY

Image: Charlie Riley campaign flyer where he claims to have “Cut the County Budget by over $19 million.”

Magnolia, May 21 – In recent weeks, Charlie Riley, the Precinct 2 Montgomery County Commissioner locked in a battle to save his job in the May 22, 2018, Republican Runoff Election, has begun to spew just about anything he feels like saying in order to fool voters to cast their ballot for him. Riley has said he has never supported the Branch Crossing Extension through Alden Bridge, when he is the person who placed that project on the HGAC Major Thoroughfare Plan in early 2016. Riley has said he never supported the Gosling Road Extension which Riley has proposed to construct right through the middle of the W.G. Jones State Forest, when he voted for that proposal in Commissioners Court on January 26, 2016, and gave an interview to Community Impact Newspaper on May 4, 2016, in favor of it. Riley has said he doesn’t support the Woodlands Parkway Extension any longer, but on January 16, 2018, Riley said he still intends to build that road in a candidate forum because “developers need it.”

Nevertheless, all of Riley’s recent lies are nothing compared to the biggest Riley prevarication of all: Riley claimed in the flyer shown above that he “Cut the County Budget by over $19 million.” There’s nothing even close to the truth about that with the exception of one little piece of propaganda in which Riley himself engaged.

Riley doesn’t seem to understand the County Budget in all fairness to him. During the 2017 budget hearings and discussions in open Commissioners Court, Riley didn’t contribute very much. In fact, it’s interesting to look at the entirety of Riley’s comments on September 5, 2017, the day the Commissioners Court finally voted to adopt the Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 Budget. During that meeting, four citizens spoke in a “public hearing” and raised about 20 minutes of substantive questions and concerns about the FY 2018 Budget. Here’s the entirety of Riley’s contribution during that meeting:

  • Riley shouted, “Jesus Christ, this is so sad.”
  • 30 seconds later, Riley added, “Jesus Christ, this is so sad.”
  • A few minutes after that, Riley said, “So pitiful.”
  • In response to serious concerns about the haste in preparing the budget which Precinct 4 County Commissioner Jim Clark expressed, Riley added, “You don’t have a couple of weeks to work on this. Jesus!”
  • When Clark held his ground and noted that there were a lot of line items in the proposed Budget which seemed to duplicate other line items, Riley responded, “You should have brought that up during the budget workshop if we’re overspending.”
  • Riley then voted in favor of the Fiscal Year 2018 Budget after a so-called “process” which ignored the recommendations of the Citizens Budget Committee, excluded citizen participation entirely until after Riley and his colleagues had already prepared the Budget, and ignored all efforts to point out that Riley and the Commissioners Court were about to adopt a Budget that included millions of dollars of duplicative spending (i.e., expenditures counted twice).

The adopted Fiscal Year 2018 Budget for Governmental Expenditures (Operations + Debt Service) was $328,824,551. The Fiscal Year 2017 Budget for Governmental Expenditures was $347,914,687. So why isn’t Riley’s claim that he “Cut the County Budget by over $19 million” correct?

Precisely due to the haste in which Riley and his colleagues adopted the FY 2018 Budget, Riley and colleagues have had to adopt millions of dollars and thousands of pages of Budget Amendments each of eighteen (18) times so far since the FY 2018 Fiscal Year began on October 1, 2018.

With all of those Budget Amendments, the actual expenditures to date in FY 2018 are $241,974,493, which, conservatively, means that the total expenditures will be at least $362,961,739.50 by the end of Fiscal Year 2018 on September 30, 2018. Those numbers come, by the way, from the Financial Transparency Portal (how ironic!) on the Montgomery County government’s website.

If you’re wondering how those expenditures are divided, here’s what we know so far, although it’s readily apparent from the County government’s accounting that County Auditor Phyllis Martin is way behind in her bookkeeping:

  • Salaries $111,645,837, or 46.14% of total expenditures. Those expenditures are up 17.65% from last year.
  • Benefits $48,960,904, or 19.94% of total expenditures. Those expenditures are down 3.24% from last year.
  • Supplies $16,725,427, or 6.91% of total expenditures. Those expenditures are up 71.45% from last year.
  • Services (are there any?!) $43,623,789, or $18.03% of total expenditures. Those expenditures are up 4.49% from last year.
  • Capital outlays $20,269,791, or 8.38% of total expenditures. Those expenditures are up 444.80% from last year!
  • Miscellaneous $1,292,699, or 0.53% of total expenditures. Those expenditures are up $1,394.30% from last year!!!

Those numbers are disgusting. There’s one giant takeaway. While services are only up 4.49% from last year, County government salaries are up 17.65% while supplies are up 71.45%. Under Riley’s tutelage, the County government is rapidly becoming far less efficient than it has ever been previously.

There’s one giant takeaway. While services are only up 4.49% from last year, County government salaries are up 17.65% while supplies are up 71.45%. Under Riley’s tutelage, the County government is rapidly becoming far less efficient than it has ever been previously.

If you aren’t depressed enough yet, the breakdown of expenditures during Fiscal Year 2018 so far follows:

  • Public safety 13.1%
  • Judicial 7.4%
  • General administration 14.9%
  • Health and welfare 5.5%
  • Facilities 13.5%
  • Debt service 7.3%
  • Public transportation 10.6%
  • “More” 9.6%
  • “To be classified” 18.1%.

There are two big takeaways from that depressing list of the breakdown of expenditures. First, the County government has spent far more money on “general administration” than it has on its core function, “public safety.” Second, the County Auditor, who is the head bookkeeper of this giant Budget but who, incredibly, is not a certified public accountant has failed to classify 18.1% of the County government’s expenditures totaling $50,262,900! You can just imagine that there’s some giant stack of receipts somewhere inside the Sadler Administration Building waiting for County Auditor Phyllis Martin and her staff to sort through them.

There are two big takeaways from that depressing list of the breakdown of expenditures. First, the County government has spent far more money on “general administration” than it has on its core function, “public safety.” Second, the County Auditor, who is the head bookkeeper of this giant Budget but who, incredibly, is not a certified public accountant has failed to classify 18.1% of the County government’s expenditures totaling $50,262,900!

The bottom line, however, is that what Riley ought to proclaim in his campaign literature is the truthful information:

INCREASED COUNTY GOVERNMENT SPENDING THIS YEAR BY MORE THAN $15 MILLION THROUGH MISMANAGEMENT AND FAILING TO DO HIS JOB, AND THAT NUMBER DOESN’T EVEN INCLUDE THE PROPOSED MAY 22, 2018, BUDGET AMENDMENTS OR THE ADDITIONAL SPENDING INCREASES LIKELY TO COME OVER THE NEXT FOUR MONTHS

Riley’s having a lot of fun spending other people’s money.

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