“I looked at the actual revenue that is brought in by each precinct, and the lowest is around $4 million. Precinct No. 4 is around $11 million.”
Riley said it was time to review the funding process and said the court could adjust the formula. He suggested precincts tackle their road issues jointly by taking an approach similar to that used for the transportation bond.
“I’m not talking about taking away your ability to do anything and functions in your precincts,” he said, “but why not look at the big picture? For example, each precinct could look at the worst road in each one and what needs to be done with that. Those are priorities county-wide.”
The judge suggested the court use leftover bond funds to pay for a priority study that would lead to a long-term plan. He also talked about establishing a common standard among the precincts for road construction.
Renfro said he was in favor of the precincts sharing expensive road equipment, some of which is used once or twice a year.
“A lot of these big-ticket items we’re doubling up on, and I think we can cut back on that,” he said.
Precinct No. 3 Commissioner Larry Walden said issues like consolidation, sharing equipment and other efficiencies were raised in every public forum he attended this year.
He said he suspects that past courts were reluctant to discuss those issues because commissioners didn’t trust each other or were afraid they would lose control.
“This court has the capability of working together on just about any issue,” he said.
In other business, commissioners set elected officials salaries and benefits at the same levels as the current budget year with the exception of those whose salaries and benefits are set by legislation.
The salaries and benefits of district and county court-at-law judges will increase this year due to state mandates, Riley said, with the county paying about $42,000 of the increase.