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.