No, I have not retired from blogging, but retirement has been keeping me rather busy. It has really been too hot to do much of anything. However, lots going on and finally back in the mood to speak my mind.
County budgeting is a difficult and a somewhat convoluted activity at best. It is extremely difficult for the average citizen to understand. County budgeting does not follow the logic that business budgets do.
One of the main differences is that businesses can adjust their budgets on an as needed basis. Counties on the other hand can make line item transfers but statutes keep counties from changing their bottom line. Only in "true" emergency situations can the county change its bottom line.
Section 111.110 (c) of the Local Government Code states; The commissioners court may authorize an emergency expenditure as an amendment to the original budget only in a case of grave public necessity to meet an unusual and unforeseen condition that could not have been included in the original budget through the use of reasonably diligent thought and attention.
Now, I am not sure if you have heard that Luminant Corporation has filed suit against the Milam County Appraisal District disputing their appraised value for the 2012 budget year. If they win their law suit then the current county budget, based on a higher appraised value, will fall considerably short of the current income estimates.
So, my question is will the Commissioners Court see this as a reason to adjust the proposed budget accordingly? Remember the law says, "...only in a case of grave public necessity to meet an unusual and unforeseen condition that could not have been included in the original budget through the use of reasonably diligent thought and attention."
The possibility of Luminant winning their case, or a settlement that brings down the revenue for the county can reasonably be seen at this point in time. Hopefully, Judge Barkemeyer and the Commissioners will show the leadership to make the tough decisions. If Luminant does not win then look at all the extra money they will have for the next budget. Better safe than sorry.