Readers blast Bonn on budget proposal
Judge Bonn, you noted in your letter that you wrote introducing your 2011-2012 budget that expenditures are increasing and as your stated revenue sources are in reality temporary and/or “forecasted,” and if one adds the following factors:
– high unemployment- not a single job was added during last month;
– our national debt is over $14
Trillion and the president is asking for another stimulus package;
– the economy continues to struggle; many knowledgeable economists predict a continued recession;
– numerous counties and municipalities, not only in other states but here in Texas, are going into double and triple million dollar deficits; and
– the Texas local governments who are acting responsibly are not adding departments and employees, but maintaining their current number of employees or is some cases, reducing their work force.
Yet, Judge Bonn, your proposed budget apparently plans to add jobs as noted by the nine additional line items, add a Human Resource Department, increase the wage for the new part-time auditor, increase employee wages, purchase a conference vehicle, add merit pay and bestow upon the two writers of this proposed budget substantial pay raises.
If your, we feel misguided, predictions do not materialize, it is “we the people” the citizens of Caldwell County who will bear the brunt of your miscalculations. Debt, the inevitable “emergency general obligation bond” and/or other distasteful options will be forced upon us.
Therefore, to the four Commissioners of Caldwell County, we urge a far more realistic and responsible approach. We ask you to reject this proposed budget and freeze the current budget for the 2011-2012 budget year. If added revenues should, by some miracle, materialize, these revenues can be used to pay-off or greatly lessen our $8.8 million bond debt and bolster our road maintenance fund.
In this way, when it is comes time to reseal our already paved roads, we will have the funds to do so, and won’t be faced with the “lost roads” debacle that we are facing today.
Judge Bonn, in response to your online letter defending your proposed budget, you noted the following revenue sources:
1. Collection of fines – Witnessed in this court, according to the JPs present, most of these fines were past due and not yet collected. Due to the newly acquired fee recovery program, these past fees are now being collected. Therefore, this additional revenue source will stop after these fines are collected. This windfall is therefore temporary, not permanent.
2. Enforcement Actions – This is also primarily temporary as in court, according to Ms. Miles, few infractions are occurring as a result of the rules being enforced.
3. Better Collection Rates – Does this refer to the increased number of fines being collected? Refer to 1 and 2.
4. Increase of Sales Tax (notably gas and oil) – These increases are most likely due to the high number of out-of-town workers who are temporarily staying in the area while completing work on 130. This is soon to be abruptly halted at the completion of the toll road. No one can forecast the economic effect of the new toll road until the results can be accurately tabulated down the road (no pun intended).
5. Prison State Inmates – The state cannot and will not promise a specific number of inmates to be housed in a facility at any given time. This present increase in income cannot be depended upon as the number of inmates fluctuates depending on numerous factors; such as the number of people in the state in the specific age range who commit crimes, number of facilities available, etc.
6. Growth Spurt – According to our Federal Chairman, Ben Bernanke, the economic environment is not predicted to improve noticeably during the next five years. But you have noted a “forecasted” growth spurt. As not only our nation, but our state was unable to balance its budget and had to make many “cuts,” some of which you noted are or will soon affect not only grant monies, but other services as well.
Does this bode well for your “growth spurt?”
If this “forecast” is coming from the NGOs to which we belong, keep in mind that this “growth spurt” assumption is more than likely being used solely for their best interests, not ours and therefore having you “buy into” this notion benefits their agendas, not ours.
Due to these very questionable revenue sources as well as other items within this budget, I hope the Four Commissioners realize that your (and Mr. Heggemeier’s) budget is not in the best interest of Caldwell County and do not pass this 2011-2012 proposed budget.