Dear Caldwell County Residents:
A big “thank you!” for your signatures requesting the court rescind Resolution 29-2012. This Resolution was signed by Judge Ramsey, Judge Robison and Judge Blomerth. Judge Blomerth presented it to the “lame duck” court on Nov.19, 2012. It was passed by Judge Bonn and Commissioners Buchholtz and Cyrier. Commissioners Roland and Madrigal voted against.
This passed Resolution was intended to be sent to the Texas legislators to exempt Caldwell County from Section 152.032 of the Texas Local Government Code. This exemption would allow the acting District Judges (only one of whom resides in Caldwell County) to decide the auditor’s salary; a salary with no ceiling. What makes this “sky’s the limit” salary doubly onerous is that the county auditor’s salary cannot be the highest paid. Therefore another elected official, more than likely Judge Bonn, would make more than the auditor’s mandated amount set by the District Judges. Judge Blomerth stated $60-70,000 being considered for the new salary; a new salary nearly $12,000 to $22,000 above the present salary; these amounts don’t include benefits.
Our newest commissioner on the court, Alfredo Munoz, requested this Resolution put back on the court agenda for “discussion/action for reconsideration.”
Last Monday in court, our county auditor stated that for the past two weeks, he voluntarily began working full-time. Although four residents gave numerous reasons why this Resolution should be defeated, Judge Bonn and Judge Blomerth defended the Resolution’s passage as necessary to attract competent auditors. Although Judge Bonn asked Commissioner Munoz to wait a week before voting, Commissioner Munoz called for the vote. Under this new court, the Resolution was defeated as Commissioner Munoz agreed with Commissioners Roland and Madrigal; allowing us to stay under the afore mentioned Texas Local Government Code.
Prior to Commissioners’ Court, I selected two counties from the last census having populations and poverty percentages most similar to Caldwell County’s. I was informed that Brown County, (pop. 38,106 and poverty level of 17.1%) employs a full time auditor with salary of $45,811. Erath County (pop. 37,890 and poverty level of 19.5%) employs full time auditor salary of $61,887. Caldwell County (pop.38,066 with poverty level of 20%) employs auditor hired part-time but receiving full benefits and a salary of $48,145.44. (All stated salaries exclude benefit amounts). Are we too low? I think not.
It remains a known fact that Caldwell County is financially unable to properly maintain its paved roads. According to the volunteer Road Committee, we possess 69.3 miles of “lost” roads. The term “lost” equates as roads unable to be restored. They must be dug up and all steps of paving begun again.
Hopefully our new commissioner will be able to redirect the court’s spending and put funding where it belongs… to increase our Road Fund and Sheriff Department.
Although we’re all busy with jobs, children, homework, shopping, meals, flu, weather changes, etc., please take a few minutes and call Commissioners Munoz, Roland and Madrigal and thank them for voting to safeguard your hard earned money.