Weatherford Democrat

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February 12, 2014

MEET THE CANDIDATES: The race for Parker County Judge

(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?

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The City of Weatherford is considering an ordinance that would ban smoking inside restaurants and enclosed areas where food is prepared, sold or consumed. Do you agree with this proposal?

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