Image: Eric Yollick spoke to the Montgomery County Commissioners Court on Tuesday, June 23, 2020, to ask them to lower the budget and spending for the 457th District Court.
The Golden Hammer Staff Report
Conroe, June 25 – Eric Yollick, who is one of the two candidates in the July 14, 2020, Republican Runoff Election for the 457th District Court Judge position, spoke to the Montgomery County Commissioners Court on Tuesday, June 23, to ask them to lower the budget and the spending for that court. Yollick said, “In light of the economic downturn from the COVID-19 mandates, we need to have some mercy on the taxpayers of Montgomery County.”
Yollick presented a detailed budget with a line-by-line analysis of why each portion should be the amount in his written proposal to the Commissioners Court. 418th District Judge Tracy Gilbert made the request for the budget, as the Office of Court Administration had presented it, but did not provide any justification for any of the spending items in his presentation.
Despite the request by Precinct 3 Montgomery County Commissioner James Noack to defer consideration of the 457th District Court budget until the time when the Commissioners Court approves the official canvass of the Runoff Election and approves a winner in the electoral contest, the Commissioners Court blundered forward to approve a budget regardless. The Commissioners Court ignored Yollick as well and unanimously approved a high budget for the 457th District Court.
Precinct 2 Montgomery County Commissioner Charlie Riley noted that “the judge can decide to spend less than his budget.” Of course, by passing a budget for the largest amount, however, the Commissioners Court is able to use that high dollar amount to justify higher property taxes at the time of passing a final budget. The Commissioners Court often passes department budgets, which are considerably larger than needed, in order to have the ability to move funds around during the budget year and spend money on unapproved items.
During his presentation, Yollick maintained his position that “no elected official should receive more than $153,750 per year, the salaries of Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton and of Governor Greg Abbott.” As District Attorney Brett Ligon has often noted, Yollick has always been a “budget hawk.” As a result, Yollick announced that he would not accept the County portion of a District Judge’s salary, which is $13,000 per year.
Yollick was the Founder of the Citizens Budget Committee and served as its Chairman during its first year. Since then, he was a member of the Committee, which conservative Republican political activist Jon Bouche has chaired. Bouche told this newspaper, “Eric Yollick knows the Montgomery County Budget probably better than anyone in this community. He has most of the several hundred pages of the budget memorized and can tell you how changes and amendments have occurred, as well as all of the accounting intricacies and games the County government plays. He even has an intimate knowledge of the Generally Accepted Accounting Principles and audit standards for governmental entities.”
Yollick has campaigned on trying to get the Board of District Judges to order an audit of Montgomery County Finances under provisions of the Texas Local Government Code. “The total cost to the taxpayers of such an audit would be less than $100. I’ll pay that amount myself in order to get a true independent audit done,” Yollick told The Golden Hammer. Clearly, that’s what the political establishment fears the most in Yollick’s candidacy for the 457th District Court.
Yollick’s entire written proposal to the Commissioners Court from Tuesday follows.