County Judge Dan Gattis, Sr., is still the appointed county budget officer despite AG’s opinion stating the County Judge can’t be appointed to that position.
Our “conservative” leaders in Williamson County will continue to expand the size of government this year as well. From the AAS, Williamson County budget requests up from last year.
In recent weeks, department heads around the county have been making requests to commissioners, who are starting to figure out next year’s county budget.
So far, requests total nearly $123.8 million, up from the $107.1 million approved from the county’s general fund last year, said Ashlie Koenig, the county’s budget analyst. Those requests don’t include money for salary increases, something commissioners will decide on when they approve the budget later this summer.
Koenig said that in recent years the county has typically shaved off $10 million from the requested amount to get the county’s final budget.
“We go through every single line item … literally down to the types of chairs they’re requesting,” Koenig said. “If someone is asking for a $600 chair, we scale it back because, as a taxpayer, I can’t justify that, and I’m not going to buy a $600 chair for myself.”
There weren’t any quotes from the county budget officer in the article. Which brings us back to a question from earlier in the year, Who Should Be The County Budget Officer? Back then we found out that because of the commissioners choice to operate under Subchapter C rather than Subchapter B of Chapter 111, Texas Local Government Code (5-0 vote in favor on 2/20/2007), the Count Judge could no longer be appointed as the county budget officer. County Attorney Jana Duty even went so far as to ask for Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott’s opinion on the matter. From the AG’s opinion:
..we conclude that a county that chooses to operate under subchapter C of chapter 11, Local Government Code, may not appoint its county judge to serve as its county budget officer.
Upon searching the county web site, under the Commissioners Court agenda and minutes, no evidence can be found that someone other than Judge Gattis is the budget officer. It was discussed at a meeting last month.Â From the agenda of the April 22, 2008 meeting, item #33.
Discuss and take possible action regarding appointment of County Budget Officer.
On Feb. 20th, 2007 the court voted to change the County budget preparation process and chose to operate under Subchapter C rather than Subchapter B of Chapter 111, Texas Local Government Code, and appointed the County Judge as County Budget Officer.
From the minutes of the April 22, 2008 (scroll down to #33) commissioners court meeting, a motion brought up to make current budget analyst Ashlie Koenig the county budget officer, but it was tabled. A further search of the minutes and agendas finds no further references to this topic. From this we can surmise that County Judge Dan Gattis is still the county budget officer which, in the AG’s opinion isn’t allowed.Â It’s unclear why the County Judge is still operating in this position which is clearly against the AG’s opinion.