UPDATED: Thursday, July 18, 2013 - 10:37am
Waco, Tx — The McLennan County Commissioners and the county judge could all take a pay cut if a consensus agreement is reached for the proposal that was offered Wednesday by Commissioner Ben Perry.
Currently, Perry says McLennan County is operating under a $6.2 million deficit in this current fiscal year. Going into 2014, he says the revenues are down due to tax abatements and assessed values going down. So, to help balance the money and get the county back on track, he says there are one of two options: either raise taxes or make cuts to expenditures.
Perry says he would much rather make cuts than to increase taxes. "This has been coming. We've seen this coming," he says.
In Perry's proposal, he suggests cutting the commissioners' and judge's pay by five percent.
"Until we reach those two goals: a balanced budget and a 25% fund balance of expenditures, the pay cut that we'll experience, we don't get that back until we meet these goals. We have to hold ourselves accountable," said Perry.
Perry says for the first time in the county's history a fiscal policy was written and set in place three months ago. The policy states that county commissioners must pass a balanced budget from now on and that the county must maintain a reserve that is equal to 25% of expenditures.
So far, Perry says his proposal has not received a lot of pushback. However, he says Commissioner Gibson did ask to visit with him "to better understand his mindset".
Perry says he hopes the pay cut will help balance the budget within the next three to four years. However, he says the way things are looking at this time, the cuts may be in place for the next four to five years. The commissioners' court, Perry says will be looking over the proposal for the next day or so. The next step is to come up with a consensus agreement. Then, the cuts will be finalized when the commissioners vote on the proposed budget for the next fiscal year.
Perry says other cuts are on the way, which may affect the county's garage and other county properties.