NACOGDOCHES COUNTY, TX (KTRE) - A person doesn't have to read too many pages of the Nacogdoches County budget to detect the problem at hand. "Our revenue versus expenses is a $2-3 million shortfall," said Nacogdoches County commissioner Jim Elder.
People are asking, was too much money spent or are operating costs shooting through the roof? it's a combination of a lot of factors, but one stands out to the court.
"Mineral values are the big culprit this year," said Elder. "Mineral values make up 30% of Nacogdoches county budget. This year alone, they took a value that resulted in a $1-million drop in revenue to this county. The year prior, it took a $1/2 a million drop."
Mineral revenues did add to a healthy fund reserve. Some will be pulled. More drastic steps may come too. "From workforce reduction to hourly reductions," shared Elder.
The court is dead set on not raising taxes.
"The increase in tax revenue is just not going to be something residents are going to be able to afford," said Walter Diggles, a regional advisor as director of the Deep East Texas Council of Governments. "There's not going to be the kind of grants and federal and state funding that it was in year's past," knows Diggles.
Senators can't deliver much promising news on the subject. "It's not as easy as it used to be and we're just going to keep working on it," said U.S. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison.
Meanwhile, the frustration is visible on Elder's face. "The sensitivity to our employees is critical to me. That's why this has been stressful," said Elders.
Come Monday the court will try again to reduce cutbacks.
You can get a look at the preliminary Nacogdoches county budget on the county's website, www.co.nacogdoches.tx.us Keep in mind, changes are still being made. Commissioners have about three weeks before a final budget must be adopted.