In its first day of fiscal year 2023-24 budget discussions Aug. 8, Montgomery County kept a focus on approving personnel amid a large number of department requests and a budget constrained by lower revenues.

The details

Commissioners discussed what tax rate they wanted to achieve through the budget cycle process. Precinct 3 Commissioner James Noack asked court members to commit to a no-new-revenue tax rate, but commissioners ultimately chose to first run through departmental requests individually.

The breakdown

Some of the biggest changes in the preliminary budget going into the first day, according to Budget Director Amanda Carter, were:
  • $1 million change in the jail budget
  • $9 million in cuts on the preliminary budget
  • 89 total new personnel requests
The cost

Salaries and benefits make up 75% of the preliminary budget, and with expenses, such as mandatory overtime, little remaining funds are available for new requests, according to discussion at the meeting.
  • $214 million is allocated to salaries and benefits.
  • $11.04 million has been allocated to each commissioner for operations.
In order to help compensate for a number of budget requests and to generate additional revenue, the county requested a review of the fee schedule for permitting and environmental items as well as county court fees.

In their words

Montgomery County Judge Mark Keough said, “Inflation, our need for law enforcement, infrastructure, all of that is on the rise, but I would contend to y'all that through the work that we're going to do here that we will arrive at a tax rate that I believe addresses our priorities [and] addresses the needs of the community, while still providing much needed tax relief.”

“It's no surprise, right that we're here at this point because of the stuff that we did put in the preliminary budget from the direction of some of the board members,” Carter said.

Stay tuned

Budget workshops for the county will continue throughout the week starting at 8:30 a.m. Aug. 9-10, and they will be livestreamed.

Aug. 9 scheduled topics included:
  • District and county clerk
  • Court operations
  • Animal services
  • Capital improvement project plan
Aug. 10 topics will include:
  • County law enforcement agencies
  • Emergency management
  • Final overview