Can someone, anyone make any sense of what is going on with the county budget? Better yet can anyone tell me what Judge Barkemeyer is up to? Really seems as though he is lost or maybe just truly clueless. His reports simply do not add up.
Take for instance the month of January report the county was 1.5 million in the hole. Then 60 days later the elected officials are doing a great job and we are not 1.5 million in the red. Now here in July he is quoted in the local media discussing the current budget woes again.
He also mentions the problems with next year's budget in his weekly article. However, Judge Barkemeyer, from experience I can assure you that the "problems" with next year's budget will always be there. At least that was the fact for the 12 years I was in office it's just the nature of the beast. And you ought to start out with zero reserve. That really makes things interesting.
So where do we really stand? According to the official Milam County monthly budget analysis for June it looks like the county is in pretty good shape to wind up under budget for 2011 budget year.
Through June, or halfway through the year 47% of the budgeted expense amount has been expended. Common sense will of course tell you that half way through the year if we were at 50% we would be right on target. However, as the Judge has said in the past the elected officials are doing a good job, and we in fact at this rate are actually going to come in 6% under budget.
Income wise the county has collected 75% of the projected income. There are a number of income sources that will not hit the books till later this year. Sales tax is projected to bring in 850,000 dollars for 2011. Through June county records show that over 491,000 dollars in sales tax has been collected. If the collection rates hold steady the county will collect over 982,000 in sales tax. That is 132,000 more income than projected. This along with other income that is currently uncollected will get the county close to projected income figures.
County budgeting is difficult and hard for many individuals to understand. Because of the statutory restrictions on counties and the fact they are required by law to set what they will spend 5 months in advance it is difficult to hit the bull's eye on every line item. That too must be considered when discussing the health of the county budget.
Again, I am not sure what the Judge is attempting to communicate to the taxpayers, and I am not too sure he knows what he is trying to communicate. But discussing budget woes one minute and the next talking about committing funds to security cameras on courthouse doors, economic development and a capital road crew, that by the way will never happen, just does not make good common conservative sense to me.
When December 31 arrives be sure to thank your local elected official for getting through the year within their budgets. It will be them and their common conservative sense that made it happen.