ROCKWALL, TX (Oct. 15, 2021) Candidate for County Judge, John Beaman, shared the following message in a press release today:
In Rockwall County, the county judge is essentially the presiding budget officer; as a matter of fact, Texas state law mandates this until the county population reaches 225,000, at which point in time the auditor becomes the head budget officer (Texas County Judge, 2021). Consequently, being the head budget officer, the county judge should have very clear direction and a very clear vision for the financial plan for the county. As your candidate for Rockwall County Judge, below is an overview of my budget plan and philosophy for the county budget.
First and foremost, my budgetary philosophy can be simplified into one simple statement: if you paid $100 in property taxes last year, the goal is for you to pay $100 in property taxes plus inflation this year. That is our goal. We can accomplish this by evaluating last year’s pool of money from property taxes and set the rate so that the dollar value of that pool, plus inflation, matches this year’s pool. Once that is set, then you leverage and utilize new property values (like new builds) and other revenues, such as administrative and law enforcement revenues. We did this very well in Heath and we called it the “equivalent rate,” a term a few of the councilmembers created due to its uniqueness. It was and continues to be extremely effective and efficient; it keeps taxes as low as possible and provides the necessary funding for essential government duties, such as law enforcement.
With the above philosophy as the starting point, we then budget down with the available dollars. This creates consistency, provides a clear starting point for the county government, and provides the clear goal of keeping taxes as low as possible in the county. This formula has worked very well for several years and I would like to bring it to Rockwall County.
Additionally, I pledge that I will never vote to raise my own salary by 24% – that happened a few years ago and I will work to put safeguards in place to ensure that never happens again. That could have been prevented by a simple public referendum (let the voters decide in the ballot box) and while that did not happen, I will work to ensure we implement proper protocols to prevent it from happening again. If for some reason that kind of a raise is “legally required,” you see this in a financial forecast months and years in advance. With planning and communication, you can ensure that the impact to the budget is net-zero. Unfortunately, this did not happen, but the good news is that I know how to prevent it from happening again in the future.
Secondly, we must further enhance our support of law enforcement. Let me give one specific example: our constable deputies are often called to support our police and sheriff departments, yet they use their own personal vehicles for official government work, which means their private license plates are revealed when dealing with potential criminals. We have a budget of almost $40M and we had plenty of money to raise elected officials’ salaries… we absolutely have the money to support our constable deputies and other law enforcement agencies. We must enhance this and ensure they have the resources they need to succeed.
Lastly, I will never use county funds as seed money for a private business. This happened in August of 2021 when the county “donated” well over $300,000 to the infusion center but that’s not the worst part… the worst part is that the business owner is the county health authority, a position the county court appointed. Not only was it unethical (and could have been prevented by putting it out to bid months earlier) but it looked to be illegal, so the county government attempted to rescind the money (Rockwall County, 2021). We did not have to throw away the process we use for bidding projects, we just had to start it earlier. Unfortunately, that did not happen. This situation will not happen under my leadership, I can pledge that to you right now.
As my record on Heath City Council shows, I have a strong record of keeping taxes low and consistent, lowering the tax rate, and maintaining fiscal responsibility, all while operating in a growing community. I value input from the people and then put it to action. Our community wants our county government to be fiscally conservative, to be the example of good governance, and I know what needs to be done to reach that point. If this is the model you want the county government to use, if you want to see our financial resources used efficiently and effectively, I humbly ask for your vote and support in the spring primaries in 2022 so we can help Rockwall County achieve its greatest potential! If you have any questions, please send us a message on our Facebook page or email us at email@example.com.
Rockwall County (2021). County Judge David Sweet. Rockwallcountytexas.com. Retrieved from Commissioners Court Special Meeting – Aug 31st, 2021 (granicus.com)
Texas County Judge (2021). Texas Association of Counties. County.org. Retrieved from TAC – Texas County Judge Duties, Responsibilities, and Requirements
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