County opts not to pave new ground over roads funding

commissioners courtKudos to Weatherford Democrat reporter Judy Sheridan, for the work she did on this “I voted for it before I voted against it” story.  If you are expecting progress, look elsewhere! If you are comfortable with a tomorrow that looks like yesterday, stay tuned.

I believe a comprehensive analysis of the county roads by the engineering firm Freese and Nichols is an excellent idea. Unfortunately, when their report is submitted to Commissioners Court for consideration, the same old turf war will start all over again. 

If you have an opinion about this issue, let us hear from you. The following is Judy Sheridan’s article:

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Commissioners go back and forth over funding formulas before deciding to keep status quo

Parker County CourthouseWeatherfordDemocrat.com, By Judy Sheridan, 09/18/13 – Tuesday morning, County Judge Mark Riley and commissioners Dusty Renfro and George Conley voted against a motion to leave the longtime Road & Bridge funding formula — which governs the revenue allocation to the four county precincts — the same.

By noon, the same trio voted to make a big change in the controversial formula, deciding to allocate equal amounts of revenue for each precinct, instead of giving more to those with the most roadway miles. A four-way split of some $10.4 million in revenues estimated for the 2013-14 budget year would have been a big shake-up for Precinct No. 2 Commissioner Craig Peacock and Precinct No. 3 Commissioner Larry Walden, had they not been able to persuade the court later to reverse its decision.

While boosting revenues to precinct No. 1 by about $352,000 and by about $213,200 to precinct No. 4, the new formula would have cut revenues to precinct No. 2 by about $194,000 and by about $371,500 to precinct No. 3, according to figures showing the 2013-14 allocations with the longtime formula.

After a several-hour recess, however, the court voted to restore the status quo 5-0, judging that the change — which Walden and Peacock said would dramatically impact services and employees — should be made over a longer period and in conjunction with an analysis by engineering firm Freese and Nichols. The firm is now prioritizing road improvements county-wide, as well as developing road construction standards.

In a less-discussed but significant action, however, the court voted 5-0 to end the practice of precincts amassing individual fund balances and pool them in the Road & Bridge fund instead, with the thought of setting aside money for the prioritized projects.

The final motion also authorized shifting $100,000 from the overall fund balance to precinct no. 4 and $200,000 to precinct no. 1, leaving a remainder of about $305,000.

“I’m proud of the court for moving that we work to establish a long-term funding policy based on the transportation recommendations Freese and Nichols will make,” Riley said.

Early in budget discussions, Renfro called for a change in the formula, calling it inequitable. He said precinct No. 4, on the county’s east side, was generating the most tax revenue, but getting one of the smallest road and bridge allocations. He said that high traffic counts, which wear roads down faster, should be considered in the funding structure as well as the number of miles.

Figures collected by County Auditor Mike Rhoten in July showed that taxable valuations are highest in precinct No. 4, representing some 39 percent of the county’s total $9.4 billion in taxable values. In the current formula, 20 percent of the allocation is based on tax revenue, while 60 percent is based on the number of roadway miles.

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5 responses

  1. Looks like to me that Freese & Nichols is in with the COG’s around the state, their website reads like the Agenda 21 statements by the U.N. why exactly are we relying on them to tell us what we need to do for our roads? Do we not have any engineers in Parker County? Something doesn’t smell right about this.

  2. Why Freese & Nichols, when we have local Engineering firms capable of doing the study? OH, I forgot, NCTCOG wants F&N. I sure hope they can figure a way to spend a dollar or two on the most traveled road in Eastern Parker County, Whitesettlement Rd.

    1. Jack – why is Parker County a member of NCTCOG ? Under what mandate are we required to be a member or to follow any guidelines or recommendations of a regional ” council of government ” ?

      1. Because that is what your esteemed County Judge Mark Riley wants. It makes him a big duck in a little pond. He sits on the Regional Transportation Board, and I believe is a Board member of the Regional Water Board. These are rewards for following the UN Agenda 21 guidelines for creating “urban villages where the populace is compacted into small areas where you work and live in the same small area, bike to work and no longer need personal space, vehicles, dwellins, etc. adinfinitum. You will no longer own property, or travel freely as you always have. The New World Order will oversee every aspect of your life. We are too far down that road already to suit this old man.

  3. Jack – you nailed it perfectly.

    Rules and codes and unelected “boards” are taking over for rule of law and the will of the people. So these regional governing bodies are a super government layer totally unaccountable to the voters, and only to the technocrats in DC and their flunkies in Austin.

    Complain to King or Estes about TXDOT (unelected) funding no-refusal blood draws, and see what response you get. Or LCRA or BRA private cops fining you, through unelected technocracies. Or not pay a toll road fee, and the DPS becomes the collection agency for a foreign corporation who owns the toll roads, as examples.

    Parker county should withdraw from NCTCOG, of course. But we have no such thing as term limits or I&R procedure to correct abuses of government and compromised “officials”.

    We live under a hologram of liberty. Agenda 21 is taking over by stealth

    Civic Belief #1: The Congress was given few specific powers. All else was left to the States and to the people under the 10th Amendment. Ample checks and balances protect the Republic from federal tyranny.

    Civic Belief #2: The Federal Government has become so powerful only because despotic officials have overstepped their strict, constitutional bounds.

    If #1 is true, then how did #2 happen?

    “The Constitution has either authorized such a government as we have had, or has been powerless to prevent it”. Lysander Spooner, No Treason (1870)

    Think about that. By either the Constitution’s purposeful design or by its unintentional weakness, we suffer under a federal colossus which takes a third of our lives and regulates everything from alfalfa to xylophones. This is Freedom? So, why aren’t Americans free? Perhaps we weren’t really meant to be!

    hol· o· gram (häl’ e gram) n. [< Gr. holos, whole + gramma, writing]
    2. a document falsely representing itself as an accurate metaphor

    lib· er· ty (lib'er tee) n. [< L. liber, free] 1. freedom from slavery

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