While some government entities in Montgomery County are working to decrease their budgets under intense pressure from grassroots activists, the Montgomery County Central Appraisal District instead actually voted to increase their budget by four percent.
MCAD is perhaps the governmental body most hated by Montgomery County taxpayers, many of whom have seen their appraisals, and thus, their property taxes, skyrocket in recent years.
The MCAD board consists of sitting county commissioners Charlie Riley and Mike Meador, former County Commissioner Ed Chance, former Chairman of The Woodlands Bruce Tough, and Thomas Cox. The fact that Riley and Meador sit on the MCAD board while also serving on commissioners court has raised serious questions about conflicts of interest. The same individuals who are overseeing the process of how much property will be appraised for—and therefore how much revenue the county will collect in taxes—are also deciding how to spend that money as commissioners.
MCAD voted unanimously to approve the budget increase. The new budget doubles the so-called “Reserve for Contingencies,” or slush fund, increasing it to $60,000.
While MCAD has shown enough disregard for the taxpayers by passing a bloated $12 million budget when they should be cutting it, the district had originally proposed increasing their budget by an outrageous 17%, which drew widespread condemnation from the community, including from elected officials such as County Commissioner James Noack and Conroe ISD Board President Melanie Bush.
MCAD initially maintained that the 17% increase was needed because of the need to hire several more employees. They also wanted to increase salaries. However, the fact that MCAD ended up passing a budget that increased “only” 4% and still managed to add six new positions to the budget proves that the original proposed 17% increase was unnecessary and excessive.
However, Montgomery Hospital Board Member and County Commissioner Candidate Bob Bagley believes that MCAD should not have added the six positions:
“They’re adding six more personnel to make sure the county gets every dollar it can. I understand we are getting about 6,000 new lots per year, but they’ve seen that same growth for a few years and not added personnel.”
While the un-elected MCAD board is appointed, voters can still hold the elected officials on the board accountable. Voters showed Tough the door in 2015, and Riley is currently facing a tough re-election battle in the March 2018 primary.