Columns/Opinions

Mon
12
Jun

New Thorndale building on the horizon

By David Barkemeyer

Milam County Judge

 

The Commissioner’s Court has taken action on a couple of items recently that I want to take time here to give you some further explanation as to why we have made these decisions. 

On May 23 we held a workshop session to discuss proposals we received from three accounting firms who had responded to our request for proposals to perform the county’s independent audit for 2016 and the two subsequent fiscal years.

Tue
06
Jun

Remember freedom is not free

By David Barkemeyer

Milam County Judge

 

Another Memorial Day has come and gone and again I was asked as a county official to stand on the court house square before the memorial to those Milam County citizens who died for our country and say a few words.

I always feel like I’ve got to somehow explain why. I say things like “freedom is not free,” these men died so we can remain free.  Last year I recalled the oath we all take when we enter the military or assume office wherein we swear to “defend the constitution of the United States.”

In last week’s article I commented that I would not be running for county judge again after this term due to term limits; the thought has occurred to me that a good reason for term limits is stress, like that caused by having to keep trying to answer difficult questions that always seem to come up to keep you squirming when you’re in public office.

Wed
24
May

SB 2 could change revenue caps

By David Barkemeyer

Milam County Judge

 

The battle at the Texas Legislature this time around has got to be confusing for many of you as it has your own elected officials pitted against each other over the property tax issue and related spending issues as well for that matter.

It starts at the top with the lieutenant governor and comes right down to us local officials including county judges, city officials, and school administrators.  If Senate Bill 2 or some derivative is defeated by the time the sessions ends on the 29th. Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick has promised to press for a special legislative session, and if one is called by the governor, certain state reps and senators have promised to shove revenue caps “down the throats” of us local officials who have lobbied so hard to block them during the regular session.

Thu
20
Apr

What is the average loss to scam victims?

By Ted Hubert

Milam County TRIAD

 

The Texas legal website Texaslegal.org dropped some unbelievable statistics on the Internet and I am anxious to pass this on to you. Be honest with yourself and keep score. This is an honor system that trusts those taking the challenge. 

Let’s start the five-question quiz now. What country generates the most scams that target American citizens? The answer is the United States of America. What is the average loss to scam victims? Answer is $2,000. 

How much money is lost each year nationwide? The answer is about 1.7 billion dollars. What percentage of scams are sent from con-artists living in the United States of America to their fellow citizens? The answer is 96 percent. Last but not least question, what age groups are targeted the most?                                                                                                                                           

Tue
07
Feb

Collecting taxes in Texas

By David Barkemeyer

Milam County Judge

 

The Texas Comptroller’s Office is required to publish tax information every two years in conjunction with the biennial session of the Texas legislature. This year is the first time that I have seen these numbers and I thought they were pretty interesting. Probably like me some of you haven’t looked at them before either, so first I’m just going to summarize them for you and then follow up with a few comments about Texas laws regarding our tax system and the politics involved.  You, no doubt, have your own opinions as well!

In 2015, local Texas governments (counties, cities, school districts, and special purpose districts like flood control, water, drainage, etc.) collected $52.2 billion in ad valorem taxes (up 6.3 percent from 2014) and $8 billion in local sales tax. This was 55 percent of all taxes collected in Texas (all numbers are 2015 because 2016 numbers are not compiled yet).

Sat
10
Sep

Thorndale officers receive proclamation

By David Barkemeyer

Milam County Judge

 

Once in a while something happens that really makes it all worthwhile, makes you glad just to be able to say I knew those guys, was able to shake their hand and admire what they did.

We fuss about property values being raised, our taxes being increased, or worry over budgets and the like. I hear a lot of complaints and sometimes wonder whether it’s worth the effort.

Then Chief Jackson from Thorndale calls me and asks if Commissioner’s Court would do a special proclamation recognizing two of his officers, Michael Moehling and Kurt Kraemer who by quick response and application of life saving skills had recently saved a local citizen’s life.

Sat
03
Sep

Police Department begins a new chapter

By Randy Dixon

Cameron Police Chief

 

A new chapter in the annals of the Cameron Police Department began this past week.  

I am sure by now most of you who live here in Cameron have driven by and viewed the new home of the Cameron Police Department. The Cameron Police Department has bid adieu to the old station which was located on South Houston for the last number of years. It was rather bitter sweet in the move but Department has far outgrown the old structure and outgrown the space to accommodate the different areas to include the municipal court at that location. 

Thu
01
Sep

Some further explanation on the budget

By David Barkemeyer

Milam County Judge

 

I’ve done my best to explain the proposed 2017 County Budget proposal to you in the community meetings that we’ve held in several places throughout the county these past few days along with the reasons why we’re increasing the county tax rate. If you did not come to one of these meetings and want to review my comments, I’ve done a video that I’ll post on the website at www.milamcounty.net, so feel free to take a look.

I realize that many of us that are land and homeowners are doubly impacted by this increase in that our property values have been significantly increased this year as well.  I tried to explain this in my presentation by showing what has happened this year to the property values in the county with land and homes going up significantly while all other categories including minerals and commercial/industrial properties have gone down. 

Thu
25
Aug

School is back and that means so are the kids

By Randy Dixon

Cameron Police Chief

Last week, I spoke about the start of school and how the traffic and the issues of traffic abound around the schools. I want to address this again as it’s the first week of school for our Cameron school kids with almost a week under their belt. 

One down and only 35 to go if you are a school age kiddo. Traffic has been heavy this first week and we have had a number of traffic complaints come in on the very first day of classes. I realize that everyone has to get back into the routine of school but kids are both excited and sad summer is over and many times fail to watch what is happening around them. 

Thu
25
Aug

More about the county budget

By David Barkemeyer

Milam County Judge

Each year as I review the county budget proposal with you, I tend to emphasize the things that are new or changing, but there are a number of things that we fund year after year that you may not even realize that you are paying for when you write the check to pay your county taxes each year. Let me tell you about a few of them just in case you haven’t heard.

I think I’ve talked about the fact that we contribute some $90,000 to the various volunteer fire departments around the county each year. In my opinion it’s not enough considering the service these folks provide for us, but anyway ... Last year we split our payments to them half in January and half in June, but Commissioner’s Court decided that in 2017 we would go back to paying it all in full in January.

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