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JUDGE: Some budget questions answered

As we have been moving through the Budget Town Hall Meetings, there are some parts of the process that I thought we could address so folks know some of what has been done.

We focused on a set of goals as we prepared this year’s Budget

1. To prepare earlier and take a deeper dive into spending and how to improve the process both in the short-term and the long-term.

2. Exploring improved technology to better spend the taxpayer’s money.

3. Restructure line items into departments and areas of responsibility that are more in tune with the needs of the county.

4. Allow the Department Heads a larger say in the direction their departments will go to better serve the taxpayers of Milam County.

5. Be as Transparent as Possible

This was an all-encompassing process that was started in January soon after coming into office. The 2024 budget strategy is a ramp-up to get funding back to a normal footing for many departments with a long-term goal of setting a budget that would lead us on a path to getting the ad valorem taxes to a place as close to the No-New-Revenue Rate as possible in the next three years. Below are some of the highlights of this year’s budget.


Software Changeover

Many departments have been using antiquated software similar to using Windows Vista in a Windows 11 world. So, rather than hire a new slate of employees to handle the increased workload, we decided to make the less expensive move to new software that will help our current employees improve productivity.



As we went through the budget this year, we looked at how to restructure line items to make them better reflect where they are needed in the budget and reduce costs due to having like items in several departments. Items such as putting the transmitting tower maintenance back in the Emergency Management Budget, putting all phones and internet services in one place in the IT section, or moving the Building Maintenance Manager to the Building Maintenance department.


Rebuilding and Creating Required Positions

Along with adding back the full Emergency Management budget (Altered in 2022), the Veterans Services Office (removed in 2022) and the Community Services Coordinator (removed in 2021), we added a Grants Administrator and a Planning & Development Coordinator. These positions will help solidify these areas of County Government and also help county employees better take care of their own jobs by not having to spend extra time on these other items.



Department Funding

This year we are providing the single largest increase rise in Sheriff’s Department funding than ever before. The last few years our sheriff’s department has lost many employees to other area departments that have higher salaries, and while we can’t compete one-to-one with those larger departments, we have to get those salaries high enough to keep our local folks home. We also need items that we are currently lacking such as Vehicles, Vests, Body Cameras, and other gear not to mention much desperately needed repairs to the Jail.

There are more items to discuss like Fire Departments, Capital Projects, and Road & bridge improvements. All of these and more are being presented in our Budget Town Hall Meetings, I would encourage anyone with a question or concern to please come visit us during these Town Hall Meetings. As of this printing, we will have held the first three of our five scheduled town hall meetings and we have a couple more to come with a possible second meeting in Cameron. Below is a list of scheduled town halls and I look forward to seeing you there.

Thorndale – Precinct 4 Annex, Sept. 5, 6:30 p.m.

Rockdale – Municipal Development District Office, Sept. 6, 6:30 p.m.

The Cameron Herald

The Cameron Herald
P.O. Box 1230
Cameron, Texas 76520

Phone: 254-697-6671
Fax: 254-697-4902