Tuesday, July 19, 2011


Several of you asked about my comment on the Capital Road Budget in my last blog. Why do I think it will not happen? It all boils down to money. It just is not there, and the Chief Budget Officer of the county should know this.

If you were a County Commissioner would you commit 7% of a budget that already is insufficient to do what needs to be done? Our Commissioners do an excellent job with what they have to work with. It is common knowledge that they simply do not, and we can not afford the money that would be needed to afford Judge Barkmeyer's dream. Would you commit one of your employees to the effort when you are already shorthanded?

Let's do some math. Figures are from the 2011 Milam County Budget. Each Commissioner's 2011 budget is approximately 1,277,611 dollars. Seven percent of that is 89,432 dollars, times four precincts equals approximately 357,731 dollars.

Paving costs for a mile of road vary depending on width of the road soil type the road is on and other factors. However, one figure quoted time and time again is 25,000 dollars per mile of road 18 feet wide. The overall cost is dependent on many factors and is arguable. However, using this basic figure you can see that you really can't get much done with 357,731 dollars.

Don't forget the maintenance of a paved road. Once over with a blade or a load of gravel will not do the job. The idea that paved roads last forever simply is not true.

Another question to consider would be how would the loss of 7% of the budget and 1 or more experienced workers per precinct effect a Commissioner's ability to maintain the current work level?

The reality is that we live in a rural county in Texas. We choose to live here for various reasons. My choice was made in 1969 when the roads were in much poorer condition. Along with gravel roads and flat tires I choose to live among copper heads, coral snakes, scorpions, wasps, black widows, mesquite thorns, and a number of other not so pleasant realities of a country life. It is what it is.

I had to have four flats fixed in the last ten days, and have ruined brand new tires on more than one occasion. Just a fact of country living. Would I trade it for the urban life? Not a chance.

I for one do not want my road paved. Quite happy with just the way it is. If Judge Barkemeyer wants to pacify those that want paved roads why not put it to a county vote?

There is a road and bridge ad valorm tax that is available to counties that would be dedicated strictly to roads and bridges. In the past the conservative leadership of Milam County has opted not to burden the landowners with increased taxes to please a few newcomers.

Times do change however, and it might be time to put the question to a vote. Instead of taking from my Commissioner and thwarting his ability to do his job why not have a countywide referendum and let the voters decide just how important Judge Barkemeyer's idea is.

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