Gregg County commissioners court discusses fiscal responsibility, budget challenges

A debate at an East Texas commissioners court meeting over the closing of a county department and movement of employees to other areas.
Published: May. 25, 2023 at 3:22 PM CDT
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GREGG COUNTY, Texas (KLTV) - A debate arose at a Gregg County meeting over the closing of a county department and movement of employees to other areas.

It’s an effort to save money, but the way it happened drew more questions.

As an agenda item came up in Gregg County Commissioners Court to move county employees to another department, the process became a point of debate between commissioners.

“The revenue is short of expenses, it’s time to eliminate that particular department,” said Gregg County Judge Bill Stoudt.

“We do things then we bring them to court to okay, but they’re done,” said Ronnie McKinney, Pct. 1 Commissioner.

Five employees total would be moved to other departments, continuing to do their jobs, and saving the county $320,000. That was the focus.

“When the state cuts your revenue rate by 65 percent, we at one time had eight percent ‘ad valorem’ tax which would fund county government. They cut that eight percent to three and a half percent. You cut anybody’s revenue by 65 percent, it’s going to cause problem for revenue,” Stoudt said.

“That was a concern to me because still they’re, the employees, are still going to be doing the same thing, but we’re going to look at it further.” said Pct. 4 Commissioner Danny Craig.

The employees would continue their jobs, just in other departments. but others said the employees feared they wouldn’t have jobs.

“We’re doing this backwards, I think we should have had this discussion before somebody went down there and said go find another job, it’s obvious they already have,” said Floyd Wingo, Pct. 3 Commissioner.

In the end, commissioners voted to make the move, but not unanimously.

“My point to all that is, we’ve got to adapt,” Stoudt said.

Three other agenda items connected to the movement of employees was voted to be tabled until the next agenda meeting by a vote of three to two.