Friday, September 18, 2015

Presidio County Commissioners Court Budget meeting 9/15/2015 Part III

Part 3- 9/15/2015

Reconvene after lunch break:

2:01 PM

Budget pages one by one. Begin with County Judge

Judge says she made cuts to her budget. State contributed an extra $10,000 towards County Judge. Judge added it to salary, no additional cost to County (however, as an aside- this money could actually be used for the County Judge's office itself, in portion or as a whole, as the State supplement for the County Attorney has been split between a salary increase for him and general  co atty office expenses for the last few years). Brings County Judge salary up to $62,000.
Deputy and assistant (Crystal Funke pay) is less. Judge asks why? 27,109 is what it should be. County is not looking to cut pay for employees, number is slightly off. Katie says this will change other employee cost numbers to fix. Will fix later Judge says.
Office supplies not cut because of copy expenses related to Commissioners Court meetings. $2,500 budgeted, in line with actual expenses.
Professional services to cover Nectar Computer tech costs in case of computer breakdown.
Communications: $6000 budgeted. Spent over $5000 this year, on track to hit $6000.
Transportation: cut travel and training to $2,000 for only one training this coming year.
Fuel, copy machine stay the same.
$2,000 in machinery and equipment had been budgeted. Computers in inventory come from Clerk's and JP office since they had Windows XP computers before. One additional in back that is old. Money budgeted in case one dies for replacement has been removed.
Judge asks for suggestions for more cuts if anyone has them.
Judge says she cut $4000, needed to cut $3000 +.
Next page...

Office of Management and Budget; Katie is head of dept

Dept head: $40,000 salary, deputies/clerks at $27,500, labor (Donna) cut for 2016. Sept 30 is her last day. Last year she was paid $12,000 since OMB did not start until into the fiscal year and had some budget funds. Commissioners concerned about laying off an employee, as the policy for this year is to not reduce employee positions or salaries. Hernandez suggests keeping her on at $12,000. Aranda agrees. Katie suggests $10,000, White notes that this is an additional cost to the overall bottom line. Assistant does the research on the bank statements and certain payments. Judge says it's a tough decision. Hernandez says we don't want to let anybody go. Judge wants to see where the labor was adopted in 2015. It wasn't, according to Judge; Katie moved money around from her own salary to fund assistant. Additional $10,000 in salary raises FICA expenses and retirement contribution. Hernandez wants the total added liability. Adds approximately $1400 on top of $10,000. Evrybody is OK with this.
Office Supplies- $1000, cut from a higher number (unknown)
Travel and transportation: $1500 last year to $750
Cut $30,000 from Professional Services which used to fund Patty Roach, which is now funded under County Auditor page
Repairs cut to $500 from $1000
Capital Outlay: zero
Judge mentions that cuts are good, but still need to add $11,400 in personnel to this page now.
Total budget for OMB is $98,172.

Courthouse Security/Bailiff

Two pages, one for Courthouse in Marfa, one for courthouse annex in Presidio which houses JP 2 court.

Already discussed at a previous meeting; money not coming out of the General Fund but out of a dedicated fund for Courthouse Security provided by statute on ticket collections from JP and County courts. Katie reminds Commissioners that regardless of whether you make cuts in Courthouse Security it will not change the bottom lone for the Overall budget. Hernandez is concerned that there is only enough funding in the dedicated account for two years of courthouse security as budgeted in these two pages; doesn't want to have to ask someone to leave or have to find money in the General Fund once the dedicated money is exhausted.
Salary for Marfa security is $39,000 plus benefits bringing total to $51,191.20.
Operating expenses at $1500.
Total of 52,691.20
If Constable is hired then added benefits are not applicable since they are covered in his Constable dept budget. Judge says this means $6,780 in savings. Steve Marquez is here, Judge asks if he wants benefits to come out of security or constables side. No preference, leave it here.
Judge talks about next page Courthouse Annex security, assumed to be taken over by Constable Coker in Presidio. $19,000 in salary plus benefits equals $21.705
Supplies at $1500= 23,205.70
Statute says that up to 25% of funds can go to a building that is not the main courthouse.
Hernandez does not see the need for a Courthouse Annex security. Would rather see a raise for Constables. Judge points out the Constables cannot have raises out of this fund; it is a separate fund exclusively for Courthouse Security. Constable can be hired for this but it is separate. Constables currently make $9,000/year on their own. Aranda looks for clarification on pay and duties. Judge asks if Commissioners want to cut Courthouse Annex funds in half. Hernandez says yes. Aranda says that he knows we need Courthouse Security but Constable's salary plus this would have him making $48,000 in Marfa. Con Marquez works for Sheriff's Office as a Deputy currently and tells Commissioners that if they want him to do this he needs to make what he is making across the street at the Sheriff's Office to support his family. Sheriff's Deputies get approx $38,000/yr salary. Hernandez asks if Constable can use Stonegarden. Steve says since he is an elected official he cannot use it for overtime as he is on salary, just like the Sheriff. Can use Stonegarden for vehicles, equipment potentially, but not overtime. Hernandez says he understands and agrees with Marfa Courthouse security and funding issues, but why for down South? He just can't see what courthouse security would be for in Presidio since Con Coker already provides security for JP Court #2. Says he would rather give the Constable in So County a raise. Or something other than a raise but more money. Says in 2 years once funds are out in the account the County will have to fund it. He doesn't want to see that on the County; it's hard to cut people once they are funded. Some discussion regarding whether to use these funds at all or not. Discussion over what the job is. Hernandez says this fund is only getting $5000/year from tickets. Hernandez says he doesn't think we need this South Courthouse budget at all. He would rather see a raise, although it wouldn't come out of this money. Discussion regarding liability to general fund among many. Hernandez calls this whole department a raise in two years out of the general. Does not want that. Judge advocates for using funds for security; it's needed, it's there.
Judge says she thought they had already decided to do this on a trial basis. They just wanted to be fair to Presidio by offering pay and position down there. Hernandez says Presidio does not need it; it's one room. Judge wants to know if he wants to cut it. Hernandez says he doesn't really want any of it but he understands and all he really wants is to cut the Presidio side out, not necessary. Vasquez recommends bringing South County down to $10,000. Hernandez says zero. Back and forth between them. White says he can go for $12,000 total with Vasquez but they need a good job description for So County job. More talk. Hernandez says possibly $7000. Start crunching numbers. Hernandez unhappy, Judge says the fund is there, additional duties. White asks Hernandez if his precinct wants this. Hernandez says it's not needed. Judge thinks it's fair if we have the funds to give some to the South in addition to the North. Aranda says that Sheriff is across the street, why are we discussing this. Judge says that this is an issue, Sheriff is often busy, we have the funds, they are dedicated for this, we need to set it up. Hernandez wants justification for spending in the South County. White says we don't have to spend money down there; it's not required by statute, only max contribution of 25% of funds is delineated. Hernandez pushes on as to getting a justification for this.
White says that he thinks Hernandez may be right re: Presidio security. Hernandez pushes on. Judge says that he could possible cover for North County security if they are out. Not very big, says Hernandez. Judge agrees. Hernandez asks again, what and why? Judge says it's just a matter of trying to be fair. Hernandez says that things are never fair, this is not the issue, the budget is the issue. Judge asks Commissioners what they want to do. Hernandez pushes on still. Judge says she really wants to be fair... Hernandez says what is fair is to give everyone a 10% raise, you want to be fair? Judge says she understands, but this was in the interest of giving So County something since N County was going to be funded for this.
Beebe says That if you cut the So County budget out as Hernandez suggest that you will save enough money in the fund to fund three years of main Courthouse security instead of just two and by that point potentially every person in this room could no longer be in office and a new set of Commissioners could decide to change the policy if it doesn't work. Makes sense to take the chance on a trial basis and see what happens. JP court #2 is already covered and there are no other courts in that courthouse annex. Constable is already covering all courts in that building. This courthouse has multiple court proceedings, nearly daily, of all types. Hernandez agrees. N Courthouse security officer could travel to Presidio for Commissioners Court if needed.
Aranda says that eventually money will run out, but it may be worth it; he wants to be fair. People will ask questions as to why we did it one way and not the other. Aranda does not want to give people a raise without giving it to others. Judge asks for a vote, Hernandez says zero, life is not fair. Judge says she wants to be fair. Vasquez says he wants some limited funding for So County, look for eventual grant, wants to be fair. White says he is prone to agree with Hernandez, should listen to the 2 commissioners in Presidio. Aranda decides he is against it, only one position needed and open, and that is at main courthouse. Hernandez still wants to raise Constables' pay in general, but he knows that can't happen. Still nervous about what happens when money runs out. Regardless security for annex is not needed, they already approved the funding for a position in Marfa, not in Presidio. Commissioners split on removing the page from the budget but Aranda, White and Hernandez vote to remove the page. Steve confirms that he would be responsible for covering courthouse security if he was ill or out if they approve this budget and hire him. End of discussion.

County Commissioners Budget

Salaries at $71,647.00
Approx $17,911.92 per commissioner
Benefits: $14,092.66
Office Supplies of $500 for last year. Cut to zero, were not used.
Training and travel cut from $3500 to ? Later upped to $5000 to reflect actuals from 2015
Communication :$360, one gets a stipend for a phone
Beebe says he knows that at least 3 Commissioners have County vehicles and there are no costs reflected in their budget for the costs of maintaining and insuring those vehicles. That is clearly a benefit to the Commissioners and should be under the Commissioners Court budget page. Is it given to all commissioners? Hernandez says he changes his own oil, does his own maintenance, seriously. Vasquez says he drives his own car; Beebe says same. Some commissioners have trucks and one doesn't but it's not reflected on here that anyone has one. Is this budget for commissioners court accurate or is it not?
Judge says there's no fuel in this budget. There's no repairs. Hernandez says we should account for this in this page, he turned in a repair bill for $500, where did it go? Frances says it comes out of the County Pool  non-departmental. Hernandez says we should add it to Commissioners Court. Beebe says we should move it now from non-departmental to Commissioners Court to be accurate since we know where it should go. Judge says OK. White says he doesn't think Judge Beebe runs Commissioners Court. Judge adds $3200 to repair line for Commissioners Court. Beebe says he doesn't run Commissioners Court and that's why he is asking (laughing). Vasquez laughs as does White.
Multiple discussions going on at once- discussion about travel costs increasing. Adjusting numbers on projector. Judge asks about fuel costs. Katie says it's probably in transportation line item. Fuel cards? Who uses them. Not much, says all.
More talk about vehicle costs, including the 2 vehicles County has for employees to use. referencing County Pool line in Non-departmental. Judge says to add 3000-4000 in repairs to line. White says that adds to budget, should not do that.
Beebe says the end result of this is that now Commissioners can take their new gross budget total and take out 3% of the additional that you decreed for the rest of us. You just increased your overall. Welcome to our world as department heads. Laughter. Beebe says I'm serious- you can non-departmentalize everything you do and then it's not on your department, right? We'll put it into your department and then you can start cutting (laughter). White says we'll do Judge Beebe's budget next. (laughter)
Judge says cut repairs to $1500, cut pooled vehicles in non-departmental to $2500, leaving gross of $4000 in overall the same. Unsure of where else to cut. Aranda say there's nothing left to cut. Judge agrees since travel and training line at $5000 is accurate and training is required.

Aranda wants to know which budget pages have not yet been touched by Commissioners before they move on to next. Judge says VA Officer and JP Technology Funds One and Two have not been. Hernandez says, uh-oh, let's do it (laughter). Judge explains that Technology Funds are dedicated and can't be touched for general use, and that they carry over year to year balance, much like Courthouse security fund does. Dispatch budget, abandoned vehicle fund. These last 4 funds have all been added as individual budget pages for clarity.

Judge moves to go to the VA budget.
VA Officer is Harlan Hardy-
Salary: 8.899.17
No health insurance costs incurred by County. Office Supplies: $500
Communications: $450
Travel & Training : $1500
Office Supplies: asking for $500, could cut down to $300.
White asks for actuals. Office Supplies actuals at $628
Communications at $430. Judge says he will begin traveling to Presidio. He is in training right now in Corpus.
No changes. Hernandez wants to go over Parks North budget
Judge wants to get through the small budgets that were added (4 mentioned above)
Commissioners agree

Abandoned Vehicle Fund:
Sheriff asked to spend $5000 out of abandoned vehicle fund, need to budget for it. White wants to know what he wants it for. Judge says she thinks it's his contingency fund. Judge says they can use abandoned for training as well. Abandoned vehicle fund is dedicated for law enforcement use. Judge clarifies and says Sheriff wants to use it for that and some operating supplies. Aranda points out this money rolls over from year to year and does not go into General Fund. Asks why some departments don't have money carry over from year to year. Katie explains differences in funds.
White says Constable could use some money out of this fund for training as well. More money in fund than $5000, Sheriff not asking for all of it. Judge says that abandoned vehicles and seized vehicles are treated differently. Seized vehicle monies mostly go back to State after Court order. Sometimes can go to County. Abandoned vehicles are County's exclusively. No changes in budget page.

Technology Fund Budget JP Court #2:
JP 2 wants to spend $6100 next year on computer/tech/training upgrades, etc. Her numbers come in slightly below that and she has no reserve. Cut projected expenditures to match revenues. Cut Professional services line by $500 to balance.

JP #1 Court Budget:
Judge Beebe. Judge Guevara says let's do this budget then go to JP #1 Tech Budget.
Beebe says Communication funds are budgeted at $5200, but that phone traffic is more manageable now since he's on the phone less with the Training Center and so 2nd phone line can be cut, reducing communications by $400. Also wants to further reduce office supplies by additional $100. already reduced from $1500 to $1200 but office is re-using paper, buying ink cartridges in larger bulk packages from Sam's instead of Quill, saving dollars. Katie says that she doesn't think we can cut extra ink costs. Will cut $400 off communications. Hernandez asks of County pays for Beebe to travel to Commissioners Court to Presidio. Judge says Beebe doesn't charge for fuel or meals, covers it out of his own pocket for Presidio trips.Beebe says he takes his own car, his own dollar. Says he is already being paid for being at work but he is not in the office, is his choice to go, not asking anyone else to do this. Judge asks if fuel line for training is enough. Judge says he will have less training this year and if he goes over will cover out of own pocket. Lorinda needs to go to clerk training. That's about it. Coming in $500 less from precinct Two.

Technology Fund JP Court #1: Projected revenue $8943. $6100 expense budgeted, some monies retained from last year (funds dedicated by statute, carry over from year to year) so JP Court retained plus projected leave a slight surplus. Judge asks about professional services from Nectar. No money budgeted. Beebe says if the money is there, then go ahead and put $600 in there just in case, but he has been troubleshooting his own computers; has not had to call thus far. Total of $6700. Beebe says to leave it there, allow for carry over next year if possible.

Gary Mitschke wants to revisit Emergency Management Budget if possible.
Judge says to let the Court get through these new budgets first and then we'll get there.

Dispatch- emergency services through Sheriff's Office

Contracts with Jeff Davis County, City of Marfa, City of Presidio.
Each contract is worth $12,744
$38,232.00 total revenues
Professional services $5000
$2000 in communication
$3000 in travel and training for dispatchers.
$10,000 total expenditures in budget.
Other costs absorbed through jail and Sheriff.

Emergency Management Coordinator: pg 28

Gary Mitschke is emergency management coordinator
(an aside- although I was not there at the last meeting in Presidio last Friday, apparently there was much talk there about the job Gary is doing with regard to coordinating Presidio agencies. Commissioners Aranda and Hernandez want to hire an assistant, based in Presidio, for Gary. They also want to raise his budget in general, including pay for him, over the objections of Gary himself.)
Gary says he has revisited his EMC budget and is asking for reductions in order to help the County balance its overall budget. Wants to keep his salary at 12.730 from the raise to $20,000. Does not want to have $6000 budgeted towards an assistant, proposes better communication countywide- between agencies and commissioners and himself to solve issues throughout the County. Also drop repairs and maintenance down from $2200 to zero. since Judge is driving the EMC truck and does not feel that the budgeted repairs to it are needed at this point.In total taking about $15,400 off budget. Hernandez asks why dropping his own salary. Gary says since nobody is getting raises he can do without as well. Does not want the extra $6000 in help for this year, possible revisit next year but in the meantime more communication to tyr to solve wihtout extra money spent.
Gary says budget is very tight but we can work together to save money. Hernandez thanks Gary for cutting budget. Aranda says he really wants to give Gary the extra help. Gary says that a big item from last year was a misc line of $10,500 stuck in there, spent very little of it as he was not sure what it was really for. Used that bit for labor to install the new control board/command board for dispatch at the jail and to move old board to old City police station space. Does not need that line item for 2016. There is a bit of money for some emergency equipment in supplies. $7200 equipment lease is for the repeater on Chinati Mountain. Annual cost. $4000 for professional services is for the generator installation. Could be put off until this year but have equipment in hand, would be better to do this year. Propsed overall goes down $15,400. Gary says he is determined to resolve the N/S County communication issues in every way possible. Willing to meet, do whatever is needed. Judge says she is willing to go with him and make it happen as well.
Gary says that there are some things scheduled that he will inform commissioners of. Hernandez says that his own criticism of Gary relates to his not doing what he's supposed to be doing in relation to communicating with the Presidio Fire Department and EMS and the S County Commissioners. Gary asks if Hernandez knows what he has been doing. Hernandez says that Gary is not communicating with almost anybody in Presidio. Back and forth as to whether he has or has not.Hernandez says that fire chief has not talked to him in 8 months. Gary says yes, but this could easily be resolved if Hernandez would speak with the previous fire chief in how they worked together; this fire chief in Presidio refuses to work together. Gary says we can solve this without costing more money. Aranda asks if Gary does not think that having someone down there to help him could help out. "You don't think so?" Judge says we need to be cutting, not adding, Gary has made the cuts and has a way to save money, we can save money, communicate. Aranda says that yes, but that's not the issue here. Multiple conversations about cuts going on...
Hernandez says that he believes that they really need to assistant position in Presidio. Says we need this one much more than courthouse security in Presidio. In five years Presidio is going to be a much larger trade port, will need more of everything. Hernandez says he went to fifteen people in Presidio and asked them if they knew who Gary was. Thirteen said no and the other two didn't have anything good to say about him, he won't repeat what they said, but they didn't have any confidence in providing service for Presidio. Judge calls to order says that people not in emergency management would not ever know what he does. He has just worked all year on communications between N and S County and dispatch. He has been working to get the radios working in Presidio, right now they use cell phones. He has taken this project on himself just to improve the situation in Presidio, no one else has done anything about this. Hernandez says I know this, but who is responsible for this in the first place? It's been five years working on this. Gary says that $700,000 of grant equipment has come into the County to help with cross-county emergency communications and management. The 12,700 he is paid does not cover that work, but he does it anyway because he believes in it. Would like to resolve any issues through working with Commissioners and others. If they want to give him a assistant he could use someone to do paperwork for him since that takes up a lot of time. But, he says, the grants are dwindling down so he doesn't even think he'll need that help.
Hernandez asks if we will be getting any more grants.
Gary says it'll be lucky is we get $50,000 this year, and it's earmarked for communication. This budget cutting is an offer to Commissioners to help with the County's finances. Thanks to commissioners for telling him all this because he has not heard it before now. Now he knows and we can work on it. Hernandez says that that's just it, he's not in Presidio to hear about it.
Gary says that communications is a two-way street and there have been instances where the judge and Gary have not been informed at all about things that have occurred even over a day or two. No communication coming up from Presidio agencies, even in a search and rescue situation.
Hernandez says he is asking him to get this done and have been asking him since day one and he's never done it. Been 4 or 5 years. Gary says things have happened and commissioners may not hear about it. Judge agrees. Judge says she is willing to go tomorrow and start to fix this problem as she is head of Emergency Services for the County. Hernandez asks Judge what the job of the coordinator is then. Hernandez says he was a coordinator and had to coordinate his assistants. He does not see that being done; he did not wait for people to come to him. Wants to know when the last time Gary talked with anyone about a potential flood in Presidio. Gary says last year they got together, maybe 8 months ago. Improvements need to be made. Hernandez keeps on it... wants everyone involved including school superintendent. Hernandez presses further... Back and forth between Gary and Hernandez
Hernandez says Gary does not have time to do his job right, needs an assistant. Back and forth between Gary and Hernandez. Gary's point is that commissioners have not given Gary's idea of further communication a chance. Hernandez lays in, says there are important reasons for a Presidio-based assistant. More...
Gary mentions that maybe the County really needs a full time 40-50 thousand dollar per year position to do everything they are asking. Says that he gives extra time, all his time, to the County and gets treated this way; it infuriates him. 
Judge says the issue right now is the budget and Gary is doing a great job of finding ways to keep the budget down and come up with solutions. Let's get back to the budget issues here, we're way in a deficit, give us a chance to communicate and revisit this position next year is needed.
Vasquez thanks Gary for his work and the budget work as well and agrees that Hernandez has a point and there are issues we can work on. Asks Aranda and Hernandez to discuss things with Presidio leaders about helping this get solved. Hernandez says there are a lot of people who could get involved; he is asking Gary to do things as a group.
Judge says that she wants to make this happen, give her a chance.
Gary says that the ICS training is part of this and is required, please do it. Judge says nobody has done it yet. Hernandez says he understands, and has been through that stuff firsthand. People need training.
Judge says she is head of Emergency Management Dept, we're in a deficit.
Aranda says to give an assistant $4000 and dept is balanced for this dept. Judge argues that we have too many cuts we need to make to not take this opportunity to cut. Gary agrees with it.
Aranda says he believes the assistant is necessary. Gary and Judge get mad about this. Judge says if we get this person, I will choose this person. Hernandez says she does not have the power to do that. She says she is the one who can recommend to commissioners court, she is head, they can approve or disapprove. Hernandez agrees.
More between Gary and Hernandez. Gary gives one more appeal to give him and the Judge a chance.
End of discussion, unclear what was decided with $4000 for assistant.

End of Part 3 at approximately 3:45 PM

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