$376M preliminary budget presented to Montgomery County commissioners

The Montgomery County Commissioners Court discussed a preliminary budget July 13. (Screenshot via Montgomery County livestream)
The Montgomery County Commissioners Court discussed a preliminary budget July 13. (Screenshot via Montgomery County livestream)

The Montgomery County Commissioners Court discussed a preliminary budget July 13. (Screenshot via Montgomery County livestream)

Prior to the fiscal year 2021-22 budget workshops, Montgomery County Commissioners Court was presented with an early version of the county's preliminary budget during a July 13 meeting.

Montgomery County Budget Officer Amanda Carter presented the preliminary budget, though she said county departments are still finalizing some numbers, and tax rates were not available at the meeting. Previously, the commissioners stated they wished to avoid tax increases.

FY 2020-21 ends Sept. 30.

The preliminary total budget is $376.21 million, an increase of around $13.7 million, or around 7.1%, from last year's $350.56 million, Carter said. The general fund for the county is estimated at around a 6% increase, and it will make up $244.05 million of the total budget, she said.

Carter said she wanted to highlight general fund contracts, such as contracts with law enforcement, are seeing an increase of about $2.58 million, or 16%, for the upcoming year.


Commissioners discussed the county's internal service funds, which covers medical plans for employees and retirees. Precinct 3 Commissioner James Noack said three or four years ago, the county had $17 million-$20 million dedicated to its internal service fund, but it has not increased.

"During that time ... that fund has been depleted to the point where last month, the county had to step in, make some changes and put in $6 million-$7 million more," Noack said. "Any option that is not solving the problem today is off the table."

One proposed option to resolve the issue would mean a tax rate increase of $0.01 for the FY 2021-22 budget. Each $0.01 of the tax rate provides about $5.4 million in revenue, Carter said.

However, Judge Mark Keough said the county is still hurting from the effects of the coronavirus pandemic with around a 6% unemployment rate.

"If there is a way to get rid of all of this and move on, I am all for it," Keough said.

Montgomery County Auditor Rakesh Pandey said a possible solution could come from unassigning up to $15 million in funds and moving it into the fund balance to cover the $6 million for employee health care rather than raising the tax rate. Commissioners voted in favor of that option.

The county will hold budget workshops in late July and August. A timeline is anticipated to be sent out the week of July 19.

Noack also expressed a desire to see recommended raises for county employees compared against neighboring entities.

"Whether people like it or not, we compete with all of those other entities for talent," Noack said. "We have the most talented people working here, I do not want them to leave for more money. We have to get our law enforcement pay up ... compared to the people we are competing with. Somehow we need to prioritize that into this budget or next budget."
By Andrew Christman
Andrew joined Community Impact Newspaper in early 2019 after moving from Indiana. He is a 2015 graduate from Indiana State University, where he received degrees in English and journalism. He has written for a number of small town publications throughout his career as a reporter.


MOST RECENT

Magnolia Medical Specialists will be located on FM 1488. (Andrew Christman/Community Impact Newspaper)
Site under construction on FM 1488 for Magnolia Medical Specialists

Work is underway on Magnolia Medical Specialists, a medical building being built on FM 1488 near the Marcel Town Center.

student writing on paper
Texas Legislature allows parents to opt for students to repeat grade levels or courses

Senate Bill 1697 is effective for the 2021-22 school year.

Conroe ISD Superintendent Curtis Null announced during a YouTube update on July 28 tat that students, faculty or parents who test positive for COVID-19 are not allowed to come to school. (Ben Thompson/Community Impact Newspaper)
Conroe ISD officials: Individuals with a positive COVID-19 test will not be allowed to enter district schools

Superintendent Curtis Null said the district was granted the authority after state officials updated policies.

Early morning paving work will take place on Kuykendahl Road the week of Aug. 2. (Andrew Christman/Community Impact Newspaper)
Early morning paving work planned on Kuykendahl Road in The Woodlands on Aug. 2-6

Early morning paving work will take place on Kuykendahl Road between Lake Woodlands and Bay Branch drives in The Woodlands from Aug. 2-6.

The Tomball ISD board of trustees was named the Region 4 School Board of the Year for the 2020-21 school year by the Texas Association of School Administrators School Board Awards Program. (Courtesy Tomball ISD)
Tomball ISD board named Region 4 School Board of the Year

The Tomball ISD board of trustees was named the Region 4 School Board of the Year for the 2020-21 school year by the Texas Association of School Administrators School Board Awards Program, according to a July 15 release from the district.

Vert will be a sister location of Piney Rose. (Andrew Christman/Community Impact Newspaper)
Piney Rose announces sister store for Market Street

Vert is anticipated to open this September.

The Round Top Collection Gallery has started offering its fall collection. (Courtesy The Round Top Collection Gallery)
The Round Top Collection Gallery announces relocation to Oak Ridge North

The store is relocating from its Market Street location to Oak Ridge North, next to Whiskey Cake.

Outside of the Alan B. Sadler Commissioner's Courthouse in Conroe
Montgomery County commissioners vote on proposed tax rate, set date for public hearing on FY 2021-22 budget

A public hearing is scheduled for Aug. 20 to adopt the final budget and tax rate for the 2021-22 fiscal year.

The location is expected to open in the fall. (Courtesy Freebirds World Burrito)
Freebirds coming soon to Riley Fuzzel Road

The new Freebirds location is expected to open in the fall.

Chef Chan's will be replacing Spicy Cuisine. (Ally Bolender/Community Impact Newspaper)
Original family reopens Chef Chan's in Indian Springs

Chef Chan's The Original is owned and operated by the family that opened Chef Chan's in 1982 on Kuykendahl Road.

School supplies will be exempt from the 8.25% sales tax Aug. 6-8. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
What to know before the statewide tax-free weekend Aug. 6-8

Customers will not have to pay the standard 8.25% sales tax on select clothing, footwear, school supplies and backpacks under $100.