Fort Bend County Commissioners Court unanimously approved the fiscal year 2020 budget of $382.7 million along with a drainage district budget of $10.8 million at the Sept. 10 regular meeting.
Along with these budgets, the commissioners also adopted a general fund tax rate of $0.4447 and a drainage district tax rate of $0.0153. Tax rates for fiscal year 2019 were $0.445 and $0.019, respectively.
Although the budget was unanimously approved, Precinct 1 Commissioner Vincent Morales and Precinct 3 Commissioner Andy Meyers expressed their disapproval of the addition of one associate district judge and one court coordinator for a new associate district judge.
"I think the public knows that there’s one item in there that I was not in favor of based on the information I received from the office of court administration, and that is the associate judge," Morales said during the Sept. 10 meeting. "I’m not going to vote against this budget because of all the hard work that was put into it, but I would hope that this court will look at this next year and make sure that we are using the taxpayers’ money in a proper way.”
The agenda item was discussed during the Aug. 27 regular meeting, and Meyers and Morales voted against both the addition of an associate district judge as well as a court coordinator.
“I’ve had a long practice of evaluating the requests by the judges,” Meyers said during the Aug. 27 meeting. “I remember many years ago when a different group of judges had requested associate judges and compared Fort Bend County to Galveston County, which happened to have a smaller population and had more courts.
"But whenever you evaluated the number of cases handled per court, there were a lot more cases handled by the Galveston County courts than there were by the Fort Bend County courts. Therefore, I led the effort to deny the request for additional staff. I’ve made the same evaluation in this particular situation, and there’s no justification.”
Commissioners Court will meet again Sept. 24 for a regular meeting at 401 Jackson St., Richmond.