Daily Progress, Jacksonville, TX

January 18, 2013

Financial status of the county worrisome

Jacksonville Daily Progress

JACKSONVILLE — During the past two years I have attempted to provide more transparency into our county financial condition which has seriously deteriorated since 2009. Unfortunate-ly, the mismanagement of spending control continues to be of little concern to our elected county officials.

It seems that more equipment and elected paving projects are more important than the huge depletion of county funds or interest for the county property tax payers. Some important facts are below for your own assessment of our county government performance. These facts and numbers are available at our county Auditors office and are annually audited by an outside auditing firm for confirmation. These are the facts the existing elected officials are responsible for.

As of end 2012:

Another deficit spending of about $2 million

Deficit spending since 2009 plus or minus $7 million

Budget year 2012-2013 another $600,000 deficit spending

Increased property taxes 4 cents/$100 appraised value

surplus at end of 2013 budget year plus or minus $1.5 million

surplus at end of 2013 less than 30 percent of recommended county surplus (safety net)

Carry over for 4 commissioners $1.66 million bplus budgets

* You will note that  the 4 commissioners had an excess of $1.66 million unspent funds to carry over from 2012 into 2013 plus their budgeted funds. The carry over excess is equivalent to 8 cents/$100 appraised value for property taxes. Rather than reducing their spending some $400,000, they voted to increase property taxes another 2 cents / $100 appraised value for tax payers.

This is intended to be an instrument to allow each of us to better understand how efficient our county government is in managing the county's finances. Unless fiscal management becomes a higher level of interest to our elected officials, our property taxes, already the highest in this area, will continue to be of little concern for our elected county officials.

H. V. Jones