HOUSTON, TX (KTRK) — After skipping the previous two meetings, a Harris County Republican appears ready to return to court, but on one condition.
AFTER BLOCKING A BUDGET VOTE, HARRIS COUNTY COMMISSIONER JACK CAGLE WILL RETURN WHEN THIS HAPPENS
Commissioner Jack Cagle presented his own proposal on Tuesday. Taxpayers would be left on the brink for an additional $149 million, about $108 million less than currently proposed.
Here’s a breakdown of how the extra taxpayer money would be used:
- $56 million to law enforcement.
- $24 million for flood control.
- $45 million to the hospital district.
- $24 million in discretionary spending.
It’s similar to the amount of money District Judge Lina Hidalgo wants to use for law enforcement, flood control and hospital expenses.
Cagle and Commissioner Tom Ramsey skipped the last two court sessions. But Cagle said he was ready to return.
“I’m willing to show up at just one discussion meeting (meeting) that doesn’t have a boot pressed to the throat of taxpayers with a predetermined vote,” Cagle said.
Hidalgo, who is resting at home after saying she went to the emergency room on Monday, responded to Cagle’s request.
“I’m reluctant to do this now for two reasons: First, I’m still awaiting medical clearance. And second, I want to make sure that the proposal is presented to the budget team in detail so that we can have a fact-based conservation. More realistically, if the proposal is ironed out with our budget team, I would consider calling a discussion-only meeting on Tuesday. Separate from the commissioner’s court session later that day,” Hidalgo said.
IF THERE’S NO DISCUSSION-ONLY MEETING, WILL CAGLE RETURN?
Hidalgo said she will consider Cagle’s request for a discussion-only meeting. When ABC13 asked Cagle what he would do if one doesn’t happen, he said it depends.
“Will I appear before the next two courts? It all depends on what the answers to these questions are, but let’s have a debate,” Cagle said. “I won’t say in advance whether I will be there.”
Commissioners have until the end of October to vote on a budget with an increase in the tax rate. Cagle defended his decision to skip the previous two meetings.
“When I was elected, the people who elected me elected me to represent their interests,” Cagle explained. “Not to show up for a pre-arranged vote.”
WHAT HAPPENS IF A VOTING DOES NOT TAKE PLACE, WILL THE SERVICES STOP?
On social media, Hidalgo has shared alarming numbers and information about what the lack of budget reconciliation has done for county services. in the a tweet She said: “Because two of my colleagues failed to show up, funding for essential services was lost.”
Hidalgo said that funding loss impacted agencies on Oct. 1. But Mark Denney, vice president of administration and finance at the University of Houston, Clear Lake, said the services would continue even without a new budget.
“You couldn’t hire new positions, but you could pay existing ones,” Denney explained. “You could continue to pay for utilities and the like and existing commitments for materials and services, but you couldn’t go out and negotiate new contracts.”
That means new services and programs that would be used with new dollars from the new budget are being shelved. In a memo obtained by ABC13, county officials listed what’s at stake if a new budget doesn’t pass.
The flood control district said areas will not be mowed, the sheriff’s office will cancel a cadet class, Harris Health will delay plans to expand emergency care and block a new suite for endoscopy procedures.
See Harris County’s Annualized Budget Impact Report for Fiscal Year 2022:
For updates on this story, follow Nick Natario on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Copyright © 2022 KTRK-TV. All rights reserved.
https://abc13.com/republican-harris-county-commissioner-jack-cagle-commissioners-court-agenda-budget/12295213/ Harris County Commissioners Court Agenda: Republican Jack Cagle is willing to attend the budget vote session on one condition