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.

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