Montgomery County Judge Craig Doyal highlighted the county’s proposed budget Tuesday, Aug. 9, stating it is an extremely conservative spending blueprint, especially compared with other units of local government.
The county budget, at roughly $353 million, contains about $22 million in new spending. The tax rate remains flat. Major increases include:
- $13 million put toward a Capital Improvement Fund
- Increase in road and bridge – $1.6 million over last year’s budget.
- Increase in personnel – 20 new positions, 7 of which are in law enforcement.
- Increase to debt service – debt service increased by $2.4 million and the reserve for pass-thru increased by $1.95 million.
“I have a few comments on the budget,” Judge Doyal told the court and audience.
“In this budget, we put $13 million toward a capital improvement fund; overall, our budget has increased $22 million.
(Archived video is available, with Judge Doyal’s comments starting at the 6:54 minute mark)
“$13 million could be removed at the stroke of a pen, but that $13 million is set aside for capital projects because we have heard taxpayers tell us repeatedly that we need to pay as you go.
“We could reduce the budget growth to 3 percent by removing that $13 million, but I think that would be a bad move by this commissioners court,” he said.
The budget is sufficient to meet basic needs for services, but the county even at this level falls short of fully funding many core programs, including transportation and mobility, Judge Doyal said.
National statistics suggest the county should have at least 1,500 full-time law enforcement officers; instead, the county has about half that amount.
As for roads, each commissioners has hundreds of miles of county roads to maintain, but even with an increase in the budget, cannot get to them all.
“Commissioner (Charlie) Riley can only pave about 30 miles of road per year of the 800 or so in his precinct with his budget,” Judge Doyal said.
Meanwhile, compared with other levels of local government, the county represents an extremely efficient operation, spending half per resident compared with local, state and federal government.
The county’s spending represents about $50 per month per resident.
“I want you to think about what you can get for $50 a month – you can’t get water, sewer and garbage service as cheap as that,” Judge Doyal said. Meanwhile, for the $50 a month per resident in spending, the county supplies a multitude of services, including courts, law enforcement, roads, and many others.
“I think this is a good, solid budget. I will compare our operations and efficiency to any other entity in this county at any time.”