Wednesday, February 23, 2011


I made myself a promise that I would sit back and watch Dave and give him some time to catch on to being an elected official. After all I did spend a lot of time with him after the election discussing various aspects of county government and answering his questions. He has been to newly elected county officials training and new County Judge training, so you figure he would have learned a little something.

I started this blog because I wanted to try to keep folks up with what is going on in Milam County. Lately a lot of my blogs have been about what is going on in Austin, but truth of the matter is that what’s going on in Austin is going to eventually affect the goings on in Milam County.

With all that being said I have reached the stage with Dave and his comments that has me saying in the immortal words of that famous sailor, “That’s all I can stands, I can’t stands no more!”

Now do not get me wrong. I have no ill feelings toward Dave himself, we have actually partied together. Some of you might have seen our picture on Face book. I do however; have a great concern for Milam County government and how he is misstating the facts.

His memos recommending all elected officials come to the Commissioners Court Meeting as it should be considered their staff meeting is bunk. Commissioners Court is for county business not a staff meeting. If he wants to conference with all of the elected officials he should set workshops, and invite the elected officials to join in. By the way Dave, elected officials are not your staff members.

His recent dog and pony shows during Commissioners Court meetings I think are aimed at his solution to what he perceived as a transparency issue. Transparency should involve a clear and realistic view of what is going on. His power point presentations intended to impress the public with his vast knowledge of the county budget are proof of just how clueless he really is.

Take his attempt on Monday February 14th to demonstrate that the county had collected only 36.40% of the 2010 ad valorem taxes. Dave check your figures. Truth is the county has collected over 80% of the 2010 revenue from property taxes.

If he wanted to report the truth he would have told the audience about the over two million collected for 2010 last November when many of us paid our half payments. Yes Dave that does count for this year even though it was paid last year and therefore shows up as revenue for 2010, the year it was collected.

The facts he presents need to be presented with a discussion of the factors that reveal the actual details of the information he is trying to present. While trying to make correlations to a twelve month budget makes sense it does not reveal the truth in all areas of county government budgeting.

Take indigent health care for an example. His example shows a monthly budget of 1,666.67 as 1/12th of the total for the 2011 budget year. He fails to explain that there are only nine months left in the Indigent Health Care budget cycle as it operates along the lines of many state agencies on a September 1 through August 31 and not the county’s January 1 through December 31 budget timeline.

By the way Dave as I tried to tell you, and I know the Indigent Health Care coordinator told you Indigent Health is one of those state unfunded mandates and is funded by a set percent of the gross general tax levy. It is not a revenue producing item for the county, and therefore should not appear as a revenue source.

As I mentioned earlier I have no ill will toward Dave and as a matter of fact I felt that he could probably do a good job of serving the people of Milam County. After all he served as Mayor of Cameron and I had the opportunity to work with him on several projects in the past. However, as time goes on I am beginning to reconsider my thoughts as he truly does seem to be clueless.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Milam County in the Black

There have been a lot of numbers being tossed around in the media lately. Various pundits have been touting the budget deficits in the nation, states and lately even in Milam County. Dave Barkemeyer’s first two reports discussed his thoughts on the general fund and the county precinct funds. I need to emphasis “his thoughts,” as what has been said is not all there is to the story.

I also need to give credit to the GOP blog for using numbers, but not using them correctly. In one of the recent blogs the author refers a $700,000 deficit for 2010. The actual final report shows that while the county did not receive all the expected income they did in fact come in under budget to the tune of $556,600.74.

In another incorrect statement in the blog the author refers to a 1.1 million dollar reserve claimed by one of the candidates in last year’s campaign. The actual reserve in the 2010 budget was $930,717.02. There was never any mention made of a 1.1 million reserve, rather the statement of a reserve of just under a million dollars. Oh, and by the way, that is why we build reserves or rainy day funds, to be used as needed.

Now back to Dave’s statement that the county is facing a million dollar plus budget shortfall for the 2011 budget year. The reality is that counties must submit the 2011 budget in mid-year 2010, and the final approval came in September of 2010. The approved budget was based on predicted income for 2011.

Now, that means that the elected officials need to do their job to bring in the money. If the 2011 budget falls short of income you can blame it on over estimation of income or under performance by elected officials. The short fall will depend on a number of factors that only the future will reveal. Let’s keep an eye on the income figures for 2011 and see where the shortages are.

The bottom line is that even with the numbers used by Dave and the GOP blog Milam County ended 2010 with a total of $5,624,470.49 in the bank. Anyway you spin the numbers Milam County was in good financial shape on January 1, 2011.