I made the last two Commissioner Court meetings and looks as though we will survive; at least for now anyway. Dire predictions of having to borrow up to 800,000 dollars did not come to pass. In the end 59,000 was needed to be spent from this year’s funds to balance the 2016 budget.
Last summer there was a great deal of anguish over the possibility that we might have to sell tax anticipation notes to make it through the year. Uncertainty over the direction of the Luminant law suit had the court concerned about revenue for 2016.
I made a presentation to the court asking them to consider expending some of next year's funds instead of borrowing. From the information I had I did not believe the county was going to be in that bad of shape considering there was over 800,000 dollars in reserve. While I understand why the Judge did not want to spend the reserve what is it for if not for situations just like this? Congratulations to the court for having built that reserve.
Issuing tax anticipation notes is the only way a county can borrow money if they are not going to repay that money within a year. I have never met anyone who suggests that you can borrow your way out of debt.
Granted we are starting 2017 right at 59,000 dollars short, but at least we do not have a loan with interest to be repaying. There are also certain fees and costs that go along with the issuance of tax anticipation notes and we don’t have those to repay either.
According to Judge Barkemeyer there is light at the end of the tunnel. He stated in court last Monday that a settlement was near that will cover three years. He did not mention the terms of the settlement as to what percentage of the appraised value Luminant was going to agree to, but at least we will know what is coming.
My past experience with ALCOA was similar in that every year they would dispute their values, threaten law suits, but in the end we never made it to court a settlement was always agreed to.
Whatever amount the settlement is I do hope the agreement includes reimbursement of the taxing entities legal fees. Luminant will get a big tax write off for their fees Milam County taxpayers will not. Luminant started it. They could have negotiated a deal without going to court. Only seems fair to me that they pay our legal fees.