Montgomery County commissioners criticize appraisal district's 'misleading' preliminary budget

Precinct 3 Commissioner James Noack accused Tony Belinoski, the chief appraiser for the Montgomery County Appraisal District, of attempting to mislead the court and the public, which Belinoski denied. (Andy Li/Community Impact Newspaper)
Precinct 3 Commissioner James Noack accused Tony Belinoski, the chief appraiser for the Montgomery County Appraisal District, of attempting to mislead the court and the public, which Belinoski denied. (Andy Li/Community Impact Newspaper)

Precinct 3 Commissioner James Noack accused Tony Belinoski, the chief appraiser for the Montgomery County Appraisal District, of attempting to mislead the court and the public, which Belinoski denied. (Andy Li/Community Impact Newspaper)

The Montgomery County Commissioners Court argued with a Montgomery County Appraisal District official over a budgeting issue involving salary increases for fiscal year 2020-21 during the court's July 28 meeting.



MCAD Chief Appraiser Tony Belinoski said the district’s preliminary budget was set in mid-May when the pandemic was beginning to “look better," so the district included salary increases for its staff in the budget.



However, in a preliminary budget sent to the district’s taxing entities, these raises were not mentioned in a cover letter summary.



“I apologize. I take full responsibility,” Belinoski said. “In the future, it will be stated in there what we’re doing with salaries even if it doesn’t change the overall line item.”



Although the line item for salaries did not increase from FY 2019-20 to FY 2020-21, Belinoski said when the budget is voted on and approved in August, the district’s board will remove the raises from the budget.



Montgomery County Judge Mark Keough mentioned that in previous Commissioners Court meetings, all departments were told to not have any raises or salary increases due to the pandemic. However, no officials from the MCAD were present at that meeting.



Precinct 3 Commissioner James Noack accused Belinoski of attempting to “mislead” the court and the public, which Belinoski denied.



“My frustration is that we just didn’t know,” Noack said. “And if I wouldn’t have pulled that, we would have voted for that, given your employees a raise when we have really admonished our department heads and public officials not to do that.”



The court eventually approved the district’s budget knowing the raises would be removed from the budget.



Federal coronavirus relief funding, law enforcement and the Veterans Memorial Park




  • The court also approved an additional $1 million in federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act funding for the county’s information technology department to provide telecommuting options for departments across the county as the pandemic continues.

  • The court also approved extending the law enforcement agreement with The Woodlands Township until 2022 to give the township time to develop a transitional plan after its incorporation vote.

  • Jimmy Edwards, the chair of the Veterans Memorial Commission, provided the court an update on the efforts to relocate the Veterans Memorial Park.

By Andy Li
Originally from Boone, North Carolina, Andy Li is a graduate of East Carolina University with degrees in Communication with a concentration in Journalism and Political Science. While in school, he worked as a performing arts reporter, news, arts and copy editor and a columnist at the campus newspaper, The East Carolinian. He also had the privilege to work with NPR’s Next Generation Radio, a project for student journalists exploring radio news. Moving to Houston in May 2019, he now works as the reporter for the Conroe/Montgomery edition of Community Impact Newspaper.


MOST RECENT

Willis ISD Superintendent Tim Harkrider said he will post a video on Facebook the week of Sept. 29 that will provide information about the bond election. (Screenshot courtesy Tim Harkrider)
Here’s what voters should know for Willis ISD’s bond election

See why the district scrapped its original bond election, what the projects include and official wording on the ballot.

Less than 1,600 cases are currently active in the county, a drop of more than 5% since Sept. 21. (Community Impact Newspaper staff)
Active COVID-19 cases in Montgomery County drop 5.5% on Sept. 22-28; 3 new deaths reported

The county's cumulative case count passed 10,900 on Sept. 28, more than 14% of which remain active.

Austin, Brazoria, Fort Bend, Waller and Wharton county judges joined a Greater Houston Partnership panel discussion Sept. 25. (Screenshot via Greater Houston Partnership)
Greater Houston judges discuss COVID-19 management, economic recovery

Leaders from Austin, Brazoria, Fort Bend, Waller and Wharton counties joined a Greater Houston Partnership panel in late September to discuss COVID-19.

Lone Star College has been awarded a $750,000 grant through the Department of Education. (Danica Smithwick/Community Impact Newspaper)
Lone Star College awarded $750,000 federal grant

The grant is anticipated to be sustained for five years.

ballot box, 2020 voter guide
November 2020 election: Who's on the ballot and how to vote in Montgomery County

Races at the national, state, county and local levels will be contested in the Nov. 3 general election.

Montgomery Woodwrights is a bespoke cabinetry and fine furniture company. (Courtesy Montgomery Woodwrights)
Montgomery Woodwrights, bespoke cabinetry and furniture store, opens doors on Keenan Cutoff Road

The shop designs cabinet, tables, benches and other speciality wood items.

Amazon 4-star's in-store offerings include books, games, electronics and home products. (Courtesy Amazon)
Amazon 4-star store opens at The Woodlands Mall and more business, community news from September

Read business and community news from September from Community Impact Newspaper's coverage of the Houston area.

Gov. Greg Abbott at a press conference
Gov. Greg Abbott to allocate $171M from CARES Act to help renters at risk of eviction

Gov. Greg Abbott will allocate more than $171 million in renters assistance from the federal coronavirus relief package to eligible Texans.

Menu items include fried, grilled and boiled seafood platters as well as Cajun staples ranging from gumbo and shrimp etouffee to boudin balls and po'boys. (Courtesy The Catch)
Cajun eatery The Catch coming to Willowbrook and more Houston news

Read the latest Houston-area business and community news.

The North Houston Highway Improvement Project proposes re-routing I-45 through the East End and Fifth Ward and expanding it through the Northside. (Nathan Colbert/Community Impact Newspaper)
TxDOT releases environmental report, a pivotal step in I-45 rebuild

The report is one of the final steps before the project rerouting much of I-45 through downtown can begin.

The Conroe Art League, which provides a space for local artists to showcase their work, is one arts organization in Conroe that could potentially benefit from the grant program. (Andy Li/Community Impact Newspaper)
Conroe OKs program to provide grants for arts organizations

For the past two years, arts groups have received grants through hotel occupancy tax fund. However, representatives said state laws surrounding use of the hotel tax are too restrictive.