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?
Absolutely. I personally knocked on the doors of some of the residents in the Azle/Reno area. They are very troubled and very concerned about it. Their houses are literally shaking, and items in their homes are falling to the floor with a very loud roaring noise. Oil and gas monitoring and reporting is the responsibility of the Texas Railroad Commission and TCEQ. As county judge I will do my very best to encourage them in determining if the injection wells and /or fracking is the cause of the earthquakes. I applaud Mayor Lynda Stokes of Reno for her leadership in this matter.
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.
I believe the lowering of the lateral road tax rate a few years ago in order to raise the general fund tax rate is the cause of the shortage. I was there the day they chose to do this, and I knew then it would come back to haunt us. At the time, each precinct had a fund balance which allowed them the ability to prioritize and fund projects which overlap budget years. Taking this away gave the judge more control over precinct funds and restricted progress at the precinct level.
Also, all the discussions about how to make up the shortage were not held in open court. The judge and the auditor met with each commissioner and discussed their shortfalls outside of the court where the public and the press were not present. I received a phone call from Commissioner Renfro the very next day, and he told me of his concerns about what had taken place outside of court in those discussions. This is wrong!