Thursday, March 17, 2011


Well now here we are two months into the year and the county is in a DIRE budgetary crisis. According to the Judge we are facing a 1.5 million dollar shortfall for the current fiscal year. I doubt that we will be anywhere close to that type of financial situation by the end of the year. Current official figures just do not indicate the Judge is telling the whole truth.

I am not sure where he gets his figures, but somebody is definitely doing some Enron accounting here. The old saying liars figure and figures lie is something most of us have heard many times. I certainly do not intend to say that Mr. Barkemeyer is intentionally misrepresenting the facts, but the manner in which he is presenting the facts does not tell the truth.

Dave is taking monthly totals and combining them to do his analysis of the Milam County budget. This sounds logical, but in fact is not. There are some accounts that are one time payments, such as the local volunteer fire departments and ambulance service, and there are others that are quarterly payments such as the appraisal district commitment.

It does not take rocket science to understand that if you budget say a 200,000 dollar payment for the year, but then make it as a one time payment you cannot include the entire amount in your budget analysis. Although the payment is made one time it is accounted for over the full 12 months not the month that it is paid in. The actual amount to be used in a monthly analysis would be $16,666.67, not the full 200,000 like Dave does.

Another good example is equipment purchases. The Milam County Sheriff’s Department has three cars budgeted for 2011. They will purchase all of them at one time. If they pay 60,000 dollars all at one time for the three cars it still should be annualized over the entire 12 month budget and should be figured at 5,000 dollars per month over 12 months versus a one month expense. I’ll bet Dave will list the full payment as an expense which will skew the budgetary figures even more. That is unless he reads this blog.

So the question is this, is our county’s chief financial officer really this clueless, or is there a method to his madness? I find it hard to believe that a man with Dave’s education and experience is all that clueless. On the other hand a good politician might pump the electorate up by misinforming them and then when everything balances out at the end of the year take credit for what a miraculous job they have done in saving the county from sure financial ruin. Time will tell.

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