Tuesday, January 29, 2013


If you have not seen Judge Barkemeyer's video on the state of Milam County I highly recommend you take the time to view it.  The Judge does a good job of presenting some information about county finances and his plans for the future of Milam County roads.  You can find it on the Milam County website.

While agreeing with many of his comments and numbers presented I do take issue with his road building plan.  First issue is the Judge indicates that the Commissioners are preparing a plan to vote on.  "Their" plan includes borrowing five million dollars on a twenty year bond, and uses the funding to pave 100 miles of road over the next five years.  I have yet to talk to a Commissioner that supports this plan.

The plan would saddle the Commissioners with 20 years of payments on the bonds.  While the first year million dollar split between the precincts would have full value and buying power by year five inflation will have taken some percentage of buying power away, but the county would still owe the full million.  Judge Barkemeyer says this must be done without raising taxes, but fails to say where the money will come from to repay the bonds.

Judge Barkemeyer also compliments the Commissioners on the paving of 12 miles of road during the past year.  While 12 miles is not a lot it was done without incurring debt.  By incurring five million in debt plus interest over twenty years the Judge indicates that 20 miles per year could be paved.  Not sure about his figures on the 20 miles, but you can be sure on the 20 years of payback with interest.  How would the paving be continued for the next fifteen years?  One must also consider inflation and know that by year five the 20 mile figure, if correct in the first place, would certainly be lower.

Seems to me like we should stick to the pay as you go method, rather than the spend as you go and worry about how to pay for it later method.  Or instead of selling bonds simply access the 16 cent road and bridge tax that is available and pay as you go.  That would save you 20 years worth of interestIt would also allow flexibility to increase or lower the burden on the taxpayer as needed.

Put a ballot up to the public on raising taxes that would be directed only at paving projects.  Personally, I chose to live where I live and it just happens to be on a gravel road.  It has improved greatly over the last 40 plus years and I don't want my road paved, or more taxes.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013


Yeah, it has been a good while since I last posted, but my resolution for the 2013 year is to be more frequent with postings.  It was not because there was nothing to write on since the last posting in June, rather a very busy final six months of 2012 for me.

Most of you know Rae Beth had some back issues that put her in bed from June through September 12th when she finally had surgery that solved the problem.  Then there was the recovery time of several weeks then the holidays popped up and before you know it here we are at the end of the year and the start of a new one.

I'll be keeping the title of my blog Inside Milam County because I will continue to focus on Milam County issues, but from time to time will step out into other areas.  You must agree that what happens in Austin or Washington DC eventually winds up having some effect inside Milam County.

One observation I will make is on this year's election.  For a change most of those I picked at the state national and local level actually won this time.  There were several that I missed, but at least I cast my vote.

We were definitely bombarded with information, or propaganda from every angle and every side.  Locally some races did get a bit heated but overall Milam County candidates ran pretty clean straight up campaigns.

One thing I do believe the folks in Milam County could have benefited from was more public debate between the candidates.  There was one held in Thorndale by the Thorndale Chamber of Commerce, but nothing in the larger burgs of Rockdale or Cameron.

I remember the day when the VFW in Cameron would fill with voters to hear the candidates speak.  Some forums even allowed for questions from the audience.  I wonder what happened to those events.  Have we become so complacent that we really don't care about getting to know more about our local candidates?

There were some very nice events held by the local parties for their candidates but no real forum, other than the Thorndale Chamber event, for opponents to face off.  As for me I made it a point to visit with the local candidates and got to know each one and their thoughts on county government.  I also would have made it a point to attend any other major event where the candidates could be seen live and in person discussing their views on county issues.

Maybe that should be a resolution for the local political parties to consider.  Resolve for the future to hold public events to showcase both party's nominees at the same time.  Certainly would be a great opportunity to let the public see the candidates state their case why they are the best person for the job.  Hope everyone has a great 2013.