GOLIAD – Despite their concerns over the changing numbers being presented, county commissioners have approved moving their unused, cumulative balances from their precinct accounts to the general fund.
This, according to County Judge Mike Bennett, is money everyone thought was in the general fund and it was needed to ensure the county can operate through the end of 2020.
“Everyone is in agreement,” the judge said during their July 1 evening meeting. “This will probably be the last time in Goliad County that everyone agrees to the same thing. No one knew the money was still in the commissioners’ accounts.
“We can set that aside and determine how we are going to fix it.”
Commissioners Kenneth Edwards reminded, “This money that is in the precinct accounts now, was achieved by the commissioners being frugal in their work and returning the money they could have used to improve the roads.
“That is our savings.”
Commissioners, despite prior reluctance, agreed by unanimous decision July 1 to give to the general fund: Precinct 1 – $71,114, Precinct 2 – $571,882, Precinct 3 – $1,355,349 and Precinct 4 – $982,546.
“What we discovered, through this audit and getting all the accounts straight, is the general fund is not as rich as we thought it was,” the judge said. “We need the cash to go back into the general fund from the road and bridge precinct funds in order that we can pay the rest of the line items in this budget.”
Commissioner David Bruns has been maintaining that the judge could always come to the court and request the money from the commissioners as needed. This belief, despite his vote that day, was maintained after the meeting saying he was concerned how this money would now be used.
“If you need to pay a bill, I am sure we can come to court and pay that bill,” Bruns said during the meeting. “We do it all the time.”
The judge countered saying, “The precinct camps don’t act as a bank for the county. The general fund acts as the bank for the county, not the precinct camps.”
Bruns responded, “All you have to do is come to court and we will vote on whatever you need to pay.”
This transfer will not leave the commissioners without funding for the remainder of the fiscal year. This money is a balance that has accumulated over the past several years as unused dollars each had budgeted for work in their precincts. It does also not include money specifically allocated only for road and bridge repair use and a 25 percent reserve.
Bruns maintains that an audit should still be done for the 2017-18 fiscal year budget.
“I don’t think it was right to the taxpayers we didn’t do an audit. This is taxpayers’ money. I think we need a complete audit,” he said during this past meeting.
Jason Collins is the editor at the Goliad Advance-Guard and can be reached at 361-343-5221, or at editor@mySouTex.com.