Been February since I last blogged, but it has not been because there has been nothing to blog about. I've been having trouble with picking a subject and getting a blog down before a new subject pops up.
The Judge's article on economic development in February made me think about economic development in Milam County. That was one of his major election promises along with several others. Thought I might give a report on where we are now, but then along came the Veterans issue.
Veterans and public support managed to convince a majority of the members of the Commissioners Court to vote to reinstate administrative assistance for Ken Janicek. The vote was four to one with the Judge being the only vote against.
Then transparency came to my mind. The Judge has done an excellent job of bringing more transparency to county government. Unfortunately it is pretty much the same transparency we get from all levels of government. They tell us what they want us to hear.
I wonder why the many workshops that the Judge holds are not better publicized. Like the one on March 12th where the Veterans Service Office was again discussed, and he stated at that meeting there would be on assistant for the Veterans Office next year.
Now I have to wonder why that workshop was not better publicized. You hear about the court meetings on the radio and about the Community Information Meetings in the media, why not the workshops? Workshops are public meetings too.
Please do not misunderstand that I am in anyway referring that the meeting was not "POSTED" as required by law. As stated in Section 551.002, Open Meetings Requirement; "Every regular, special, or called meeting of a governmental body shall be open to the public..."
Section 551.049 states "A county governmental body shall post notice of each meeting on a bulletin board at a place convenient to the public in the county courthouse. I wonder why select meetings are given great media coverage and others are posted "conveniently" in the courthouse? Seems like a website might be a more convenient spot for posting then the courthouse...easier for most of us to get to.
Or perhaps there are things that are going to be discussed that someone might not want to bring a great deal of public attention, such as the total reversal of a court decision made several weeks before. The comments at the workshop also brought up the issue of the dire financial straits the county is in. My real question is who can see into the future and claim the 23,000 dollar cut will save the county from financial disaster?
The Judge has continually played the we are broke card in his public offerings, but then will turn right around and crow about the 750,000 dollar reserve the county carried over into 2015. Not his desired level of a million, but also nowhere near broke.
Now consider the fact that 2015 appraisals are in the mail. Got mine over the weekend and was somewhat surprised at what some folks now think property is worth in Milam County. I got to work in the Tax Office on Monday April the 6th, in Cameron and one person commented their tax bill was going to increase tenfold over last year's based on the new appraisals.
So, on March 12th during the workshop meeting Milam County was going to be broke in 2016 according to Judge Barkemeyer, and now the appraisals are going up countywide. Some say the coiunty could see another five to six hundred thousand in revenue from the appraisal increases. Surely out of that money the court can find enough to help keep Milam County's Veteran Services the best in Central Texas. Our Veterans have earned it.
Bottom line is that there is a lot to blog about in Milam County. There is a lot that we as voters and property owners should be aware of. Sad thing is that most folks just don't care.