Perception is a very important point of an individual's decision making. You take a look at a glass of water that is half full, or is it half empty? It all depends on your perception. Political pundits use their spin on the facts to influence our perception.
Take for instance the recent articles in the local newspapers on the Liminant settlement. As most of Milam County knows by now the Liminant law suit against the Milam County Appraisal Office is close to a settlement. A settlement that is being hailed by some as a great deal. However, the facts show that while some progress was made the glass is still going to be half empty with the proposed settlement.
Certainly the 410 million dollar agreed valuation is better than Luminant's proposed value. The proposed settlement is far above the value they initially proposed in their original filings, but it falls short of the value that was included in Milam County's 2012 budget.
According to Pat Morrow, our Chief Appraiser, the value that was included in the certified appraised values for Liminant was 544 million. Liminant's original proposed value was below 300 million. Bottom line is Milam County's budget is going to be short 134 million in appraised values.
The Rockdale Reporter front page article in the June 14th edition states, "The settlement should mean an additional $360,000 in revenue for the county, according to County Judge Dave Barkemeyer." The article goes on to quote the Judge, "I look at that $360,000 as icing on the cake…It's money we didn't have in December." What he does not say is that it was money that was counted in the budget in December. So, the truth is that it is not additional revenue.
In my blog of October 7, 2011, titled Kudos to the Rockdale School Board, I point out their leadership in taking into consideration the Luminant law suit potential effect on their budget. They took action to offset possible loses, unfortunately Milam County did not.
The proposed settlement recoups some, but by no means all of the revenue accounted for in Milam County's 2012 adopted operating budget. While the 360,000 will help county officials have a long way to go to get in under budget to make up the difference. I have faith that they can and will do it.
Judge Barlemeyer has been very big on open and transparent government, and he has done a good job at laying most things out on the table. It's unfortunate that the truth is edited to take out the bad news and report only the good news on such a significant part of county government. Reality will come to the surface as we near the end of the year and see the level of the glass is short on being where it should be regardless of your perception.