Judge Doyal: County budget a win for taxpayers

County Judge Craig Doyal said the county’s $344.4 million budget demonstrates the county’s commitment to conservative fiscal principles.

With an overall increase of just 4.83 percent from last year, county spending would remain below the rate of growth in population and inflation, which was roughly 5.94 percent. The tax rate remained unchanged.

“This means Montgomery County is accomplishing the goals of conservative leaders who have called for the state and other governments to restrain spending below the rate of population and inflation,” said County Judge Craig Doyal.

“I am proud of this budget and the work this court put into it, and I am particularly proud of our newly named Budget Officer Amanda Carter, who during our budget workshop demonstrated a detailed knowledge of our county departments, and used that knowledge to help us craft this spending plan.”

The judge pointed to a number of highlights:

·     The budget actually is $3.6 million less than the county’s 2017 budget from two years ago;

·     Roughly 44 percent of the budget is devoted to law enforcement, courts and related activities;

·     The county’s debt service is $37,710,678 – a little more than 10 percent of the overall budget;

·     The Commissioners Court added 34 new positions, of which roughly half – 17 – are for law enforcement and courts

“This budget funded essential county services, especially law enforcement, while protecting the taxpayers from steep increases in spending,” Judge Doyal said.

The judge said the county has worked hard to offer relief to taxpayers affected by rising property values, including adding a 20 percent homestead exemption last year and cutting nearly $20 million in spending.

However, with the county representing just 16 percent of the average taxpayer’s property tax bill, it will take action by other local governments, and school finance reform by the Legislature, to provide meaningful property tax relief to Montgomery County residents.

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