Weatherford Democrat

Aledo ExtrA

February 18, 2014

Riley and McKay face off for Parker County Judge

March 4 primary election

(Continued)

Earthquakes, and their possible link to injection wells used for fracking waste, have been an issue for Parker County residents recently. Do you think the Texas Railroad Commission should increase the monitoring and reporting done on these wells?

The Texas Railroad Commission is in the process of hiring a seismologist to gather scientific data on the earthquake occurrence in Northern Parker County. SMU is also conducting a study. Everyone acknowledges a problem exists. It is important to gather scientific data to provide the best possible answer to the cause of the tremors. It is important the RRC keep the public updated on their process and push for a timely response with their conclusions.

Please comment on the $1.3 million road and bridge fund deficit brought to light in this year’s budget talks and the court’s decision to give up individual fund balances.

The question is misleading, in that the fund balance of all county funds is reported on regularly. The R&B fund balance is overseen by the commissioners. The difference in the precinct fund balance and the one for the general fund is simple.

The R&B fund balance is split into five accounts. Each commissioner had his own reserves (not allowed in the general fund) and the R&B reserve fund. Unlike the general fund departments, the precincts draw down on their own reserves and make allocations from the main reserve fund as well.

The commissioners have sole responsibility for their budgets. The commissioners have made the correct decision to eliminate individual precinct reserves and operate the same way as the general fund. There have been previous commissioners who have opposed that move. Fortunately the current court sees the value in changing the process.

Do you have any strategies to limit tax increases as the county grows? If so what are they?

We have already limited tax rate increases and continue with the same tax rate. Individual tax bills may or may not increase based on appraisal changes (which are not controlled by Commissioners Court). Tax bills may increase because of the tax rate of other entities.

The general fund operating tax rate for the county is about 12 percent of the average tax rate for all taxing entities. Statewide, 82 percent of the 254 counties have a higher operating tax rate than Parker County.

Through sound business practices and a proven conservative approach to budgeting, we limit the tax while maintaining the expected level of service. Every budget has been scrubbed for unnecessary operating expenses. We cannot control unfunded mandates from the state which account for a large portion of our budget.

One of the biggest cost savings I was able to get approved was a change in our employee health insurance plan. We bought health insurance through an agency that cost us about $250,000 in commissions and administration fees.

Over the vehement objections of a former commissioner, I convinced the court to join a group with regional entities. Now, we pay no commissions and spend about $50,000 in administration fees. All monies paid by the county and employees now go directly to providing the benefits.

The transportation projects are one of the biggest economic engines we could have and with the positive growth we will continue to experience, we will have appropriate funds available to provide the expected services. If there is an economic downturn, we will do as we did several years ago. Cut expenses.

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Aledo ExtrA
  • 0729 one purple heart group.jpg A Purple Heart County

    County Judge Mark Riley and Parker County commissioners proclaimed Parker County to be a “Purple Heart County” Monday, honoring local veterans and their families in a special ceremony held in the second floor courtroom of the historic courthouse. 

    July 28, 2014 2 Photos

  • 0725 one arson.JPG Suspicious house fire under investigation

    The Weatherford fire marshal says a fire that damaged a house and killed two puppies Wednesday night is being investigated as a suspicious fire and a suspect is in jail on unrelated charges.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • CPS data.jpg Case overload

    Parker County Attorney John Forrest will ask county commissioners for additional funds as county budget discussions begin this year; he hopes to hire another attorney to help with an increase in Child Protective Services cases.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Richard Adams Sr. Firefighter arrested on child sex assault charges

    A volunteer Hudson Oaks firefighter is in the Parker County Jail on charges he repeatedly sexually assaulted two young relatives over a several year period. 

    Richard Frederick Adams Sr., 62, arrested Monday, faces two charges of continuous sexual abuse of a child under 14, a first-degree felony.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Developer withdraws site plan

    ANNETTA —A controversial 34-home subdivision proposed for a 41-acre tract on Duncan Road will not go forward as planned, according to action taken by both the proposed developer and the Annetta Town Council after a public hearing Thursday night.

    July 22, 2014

  • Aledo City Council to meet July 24

    The Aledo City Council will meet at 7 p.m. Thursday, July 24, in the Aledo Community Center, 104 Robinson Court, Aledo.

    July 22, 2014

  • oak leaf ladder shot.jpg Fires damage business, home

    Two separate fires around 2 p.m. July 15 damaged a Willow Park business and destroyed the home of a Weatherford family.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Letter to the Editor

    Dear Editor,
     Thursday night, July 17, I was present for a surprisingly interesting experience when State Representative candidate Matthew Britt addressed a small group of supporters, followed by a question and answer session.

    July 22, 2014

  • ESD 1, Annetta South close on fire station site

    Parker County Emergency Services District No. 1 and Annetta South officials said Tuesday that the ESD is homing in on a site for a new fire station to serve residents in the Annettas and surrounding areas. Annetta South is expected to consider a zoning change to accommodate a new station next month.

    July 22, 2014

  • Registration has begun for Aledo ISD

    Aledo ISD enrollment for the 2014-15 school year began yesterday, July 21, and students new to the district need to register before school begins, Monday, Aug. 25.

    July 22, 2014

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