Secretive facilities planning, other Montgomery County spending present perils for taxpayers at every turn in Tuesday Commissioners Court meeting

Secretive facilities planning, other Montgomery County spending present perils for taxpayers at every turn in Tuesday Commissioners Court meeting

Conroe, April 9 – Secretive facilities planning and other County government spending proposals present perils at every turn for taxpayers during the Tuesday, April 9, 2019, meeting of the Montgomery County Commissioners Court. Montgomery County’s government continues to merit its reputation as “the most corrupt County government in Texas.”

Facilities spending: budget breaker?

Despite assurances that agenda items wouldn’t appear, unless the backup materials were with them, Item 12A is “Consider and discuss update on 2019 Capital Improvement Plan” with no backup whatsoever. The item falls under Amanda Carter, the Budget Office Director, who is working closely with Precinct 3 Montgomery County Commissioner James Noack and Precinct 2 County Commissioner Charlie Riley to move the County government forward with spending projects which County Judge Mark Keough indicated during the March 26 Commissioners Court meeting exceed $400 million.

Without backup materials, the proposal could easily include a brand new Courthouse Complex, a new Jail, a new Tax Office (necessary to take the citizens’ money to pay for all of the things the politicians want), a new Forensics Center and Crime Laboratory, and other buildings and facilities. The citizens have received no notice whatsoever of what items are within the discussion which the Commissioners Court intends to “consider and discuss.”

In a related matter, after the Commissioners Court unceremoniously remold County Judge Mark Keough from the Facilities Committee by a 4 to 1 (Keough dissenting) vote on March 26, Noack seeks to form a new Committee consisting of his staff members and closest allies inside of the bureaucracy of the Montgomery County government: Noack, Riley, Noack’s Chief of Staff Evan Besong, Noack’s IT director Charles Cobb, Riley’s Chief of Staff Bruce Berger, Building Maintenance head Tim Stewart (married to a County government employee who works in Noack’s office), Amanda Carter (Budget Office Director), and Gilbert Jalomo (Purchasing Department Director).

Clearly, there will be few, if any, checks upon the predatory spending the citizens will suffer from the Facilities Committee, which will likely meet in secret. Or, as he has assured many of his closest constituents, will Noack use his influence of the Facilities Committee as a tool to achieve the one percent (1%) spending reduction for Fiscal Year 2020, which he has promised them?
State Highway 242 flyover tolls
County Judge Mark Keough’s proposal to remove the State Highway 242 flyover tolls will likely fail on a 2 (Keough, Noack) to 3 (Metts, Riley, Meador) vote. The removal of those tolls would likely reduce traffic congestion enormously at the intersection of Interstate 45 and State Highway 242.
The proposal will likely fail, however, because Riley and Meador strongly support keeping tolls on tollroads forever, even after the taxpayers paid the debt on those roads. They want the “revenue” to spend on other pet projects.
$10,606,035.36 of “payment of accounts” spending
The Commissioners Court has begun, finally, to include the so-called “Payment of Accounts” on the open portion of the meeting agenda, thanks to a decision by Keough and his Chief of Staff Jason Millsaps. Nevertheless, none of the Commissioners Court members ever take the time to examine this important spending item in order to raise questions about it.
Instead, the Commissioners Court just blindly approves spending under “Payment of Accounts” every time. $10,606,035.36 is a lot of money. One might think that members of the Commissioners Court should watch the funds as they jump into the sewer and flush.
Does the Risk Management Department really need to spend $37,222.10 on “Tommy’s Paint &”? Why would they spend such funds on paint? Are the prices for invoices totaling $2.593 million on the TX 249 tollway fair prices for the services rendered? Why is Kelli Cook receiving $150 from the Precinct 1 Commissioner?
Why is Graves Humphries law firm receiving $4,050 out of the Technology Fund for anything when their non-collection services are supposed to be free?
Why is the amount two JPs are paying this week to Graves Humphries law firm so high? $22,226.96?
Why have the credit card charges gone down so much?
Award the bid to the highest bidder?!
There were two bidders to reconstruct and widen Firehouse Road in Commissioners Precinct 1.
 WadeCon, L.L.C., bid in the amount of $672,257.00. Forde Construction Company, Inc., bid at $809,451.33. The Commissioners Court intends to award the bid to the highest bidder. Why? Is that how corrupt Montgomery County operates?
There were also some bids to clean Charlie’s supposed mess: Project #19-13 RFP – Power Washing and Cleaning Services for Sports Complex, Horse Arena, Recycling Center, Community Buildings, and other Public Buildings for Commissioner Precinct 2. Why do we all expect the name of the company that will receive this lucrative County government contract to have the word “Stuckey” in it?

 

 

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