Last week Smith County commissioners decided to give themselves a huge pay raise. They say they want to be paid at a level comparable to their peers. It is very tempting to criticize them for it. Odds are, you and I are not going to see our salaries increase 30 percent over the next three years.
But, reluctantly, I would like to suggest that we give them the benefit of the doubt, as well as a strong challenge. Smith County voters should insist on getting comparable results for providing comparable pay to county leaders.
Let me give you some examples. Gregg County has a jail that is already paid for - and it's making money - almost $80,000 a month for the county.
In Smith County, taxpayers are spending almost three hundred thousand dollars, EVERY MONTH, to outsource our prison population.
Also, Gregg County's entire debt is less than 2 million dollars. Smith County's debt is more than 16 million dollars.
I wish the commissioners would have provided us a plan on how they were going to take care of these types of problems before they gave themselves a raise. But that didn't happen. Maybe now that we've given them they pay they deserve we can expect to see one - and that will make this a better East Texas.