Nacogdoches Co. searching for ways to balance budget

BEAUMONT, TX (News Release) - By Donna McCollum - email

NACOGDOCHES, Texas (KTRE) - There are three days of line-item workshops this week for the Nacogodoches County Commission. Newly elected commissioners could almost consider it hazing, if the study wasn't necessary to help them keep a political promise.

"Not raise taxes," said Commissioner Charles "Kilowatt" Thomson. "Our opinion,of most of us, we don't want to raise taxes at all on anybody."

"I'm determined that I don't want to see taxes raised," said Commissioner Elton Milstead. "We've just got to learn how to live within our means."

There are consequences with everything. The goal is to keep it from affecting taxpayer services as far away as 2012.

"We're not waiting down to the last minute and then trying to figure out how we're going to come up with the money," Milstead said.

Until recently, oil and gas exploration created a great nest egg. Now the natural gas prices are sinking. The court anticipates $1.5 million less in revenue. In addition, the state is taking its share.

"The State of Texas received more and the county received less," County Judge Joe English said. "So call it an unfunded mandate if you want to. Fact of the matter is they're using that also to help balance their budget. By doing so, they're taking away from the county."

Also taking away from the county may be rising gasoline prices. This year's budget is based on fuel not going above $3 a gallon. So while the court is looking ahead to 2012, they may be readjusting spending habits much sooner.

Copyright 2011 KTRE. All rights reserved.