Bowie County Judge Sterling Lacy Explains Budget Choices
Bowie County Judge Sterling Lacy issues a release concerning his budget choices.
There has been much controversy since August 2011 regarding my budget choices when it comes to the financing/refinancing of Bowie County’s loans. Basically there were two choices:
1. Continue the unlawful borrowing practices of the previous administration, or
2. Immediately strike a new course for Bowie County that complies with Texas law.
On August 8, 2011 both our attorney and bond advisor informed us that Bowie County’s past borrowing practices did not comply with Texas law and had to be stopped immediately. This was reaffirmed in Commissioners Court yesterday by that same bond advisor.
Immediately stopping the long-standing unlawful practice coupled with a disastrous jail vendor arrangement was costly… it zeroed out the rainy day fund.
Will the county have to continue borrowing money for operations as in the past? Yes, but now we borrow the money openly within the law, not disguised as borrowing for debt payments.
Will we ever reach the point where we stop borrowing for operations and we start building up the rainy day fund? Yes, that will be the goal of establishing a five year plan.
Step one was complying with Texas law no matter the cost.
Step two will be for Commissioners Court to force all departments to stay within their budgets.
Step three will require reducing budget expenditures, especially the giveaways.
Step four will require a re-examination of Bowie County staying in the jail-bed-rental business after the market turned sour.