County passes deficit budget

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Madison County will operate on a deficit in the fiscal year that begins in October, after commissioners passed the FY 2017-18 budget on Monday.

Additionally, the county approved next year’s tax rate, leaving it the same as last year — 55 cents per $100 valuation on Madison County property.

County Judge C.E. McDaniel cast the lone dissenting vote, saying that he had numerous issues with the budget as it stands.

The budget lists expenditures of $12,146,007, while bringing in only $9,757,284 from taxes and fees. The general fund, which will be at $13,698,790 at the end of the month, will be down to $11,310,067 in a year.

Since the county dipped into the general fund last year as well, McDaniel considers this new budget to be irresponsible.

“There are several things in the budget that I take issue with,” he said. “The main one was $1 million that is to be taken out of the general fund for the Road and Bridge departments — $250,000 apiece.”

Commissioners also denied several personnel requests that McDaniel felt were necessary, particularly with the Sheriff’s Office and the provision of bailiffs for court.

Previously, the budget came under the County Judge’s purview; however, by statute, it was to be provided by the sheriff.

The Sheriff’s Office had requested two additional deputies to be added to his personnel roster, to be used for both law enforcement and bailiff work. However, commissioners approved only one additional deputy.

 “We proposed to transfer that responsibility back to the sheriff; we don’t have a designated bailiff like there had been,” he said. “I thought that we needed to allow two deputies.”

McDaniel said there were other personnel matters regarding pay and moving people to full-time status that were denied as well, and they were not considered.

“The only thing that was approved was a 4 percent increase across the board for personnel,” he said.

In other business, the county:

•proclaimed October as Colonial Heritage Month;

•proclaimed October as Domestic Violence Awareness month;

•approved a variance to the subdivision regulations for Claud and Candice McCreight for a piece of land at 1468 Spur 104;

•approved a revised fee schedule for the Madison County Library for copies and faxes;

•approved a letter of engagement with Davis Heinemann & Co. for auditing services;

•approve a service agreement with Net Data for service and repair on a county server;

•approved a contract with Texas Document Solutions for a copier for the library;

•approved a vendor agreement with the Brazos Valley Agency on Aging for services to county senior citizens;

•postponed two requests from District Clerk Rhonda Savage for archive fees and restoration of archives; and

•nominated Bunkin Bennett to fill a vacancy on the board for the Madison County Appraisal District.

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