Letters – Will Commissioners listen, reader asks
To the Editor:
Webster says to hear is to perceive sound; to listen is to pay attention to.
I know the Caldwell County Commissioners hear, but my question is: do they listen when their citizens speak? I have approached the Commissioners Court several times over the past two months to discuss the County Judge’s proposed budget. My purpose is to get answers to du
plicate and/or questionable items and to let these five elected officials act on these items before accepting the final budget.
The only person to answer some of my questions is the county attorney whose background has been as a high density agriculture developer in Colorado.
So, I now ask why the county auditor has not been involved in this preparation as required by statute? I asked about the items in the non-departmental (catch-all) section of this budget (i.e., dues, office supplies, postage, fax and rentals) totaling about $67,000, because most departments already have these items duplicated. Our county attorney gave an eloquent definition of these items but failed to explain the duplication question.
Remember, his background is as a developer.
In this same department, the item for miscellaneous goes from $1,000 last year to $40,000 this year. WHY? Contingency goes from $8,000 last year to $122,000 this year. WHY? Under the Commissioners Court department the amount for miscellaneous goes from $500 last year to $40,000 this year. WHY? There has been no explanation for the animal control department, whose budget is $118,000. WHY?
I thank the county attorney for his legalese and ability to dance around the questions, but the five elected officials on this Commissioners’ Court should know what this budget is about, and some of them should be able to answer these questions.
Where is the county auditor in this process?
Why is this court discussing and ready to set a tax rate before they have agreed to the budget? How can they set a tax rate if they don’t know what they plan to spend?
Is this Commissioners’ Court listening to the people? Do they care about public input or has this budget been decided behind closed doors? Why does this budget estimate an increase in tax revenues collected when they propose a decrease in the tax rate?
Are they listening or just hearing?
Editor’s Note: A public hearing and record vote on the Caldwell County budget is slated for Monday, Sept. 26, during the regular meeting of the Caldwell County Commissioners’ Court. The meeting will be held in the conference room at the L.W. Scott Annex, 1403 Blackjack St., in Lockhart, and will begin at 9 a.m.