Taking activism to new heights, a Montgomery County group of activists calling themselves the Citizens Budget Committee teamed up to comb through county finances and create a fiscally conservative budget for proposal to county commissioners.

The budget report was released on Friday, and while it was packed full of spending cuts, the group said they aimed to address “two primary County functions,” roads and public safety.

The proposed budget by the group came in at $336.4 million while the County Auditor’s budget topped $344 million. Using money from internal service funds, the group was able to identify $24 million in other spending cuts.

“The Committee examined the ‘slush funds’ which the Commissioners accumulate in unspent road and bridge funds from budget year to budget year. Those funds are largely not accounted for in the annual budgeting which the Commissioners Court does through a process that should be most public,” read a report announcing the budget.

“One of the fundamental goals of the Citizens Budget Committee is to take approximately 40% of the expenditure savings taken from the County Budget and put those funds back into law enforcement and a capital fund.”

The end result of the workgroup was a sound and conservative budget that boosted funding for law enforcement and roads. The committee presented their proposal this morning at commissioners court, and the court agreed to consider it as they go through the budget process.

Reagan Reed, with Texas Scorecard’s Houston Bureau, is also a member of the citizen-led committee and said they will be present during most of the budget meetings this week. Aside from hoping that commissioners will embrace some of their items, the group is hoping other activists begin to take budget proposals into their own hands.

Charles Blain

Charles Blain is the president of Urban Reform and Urban Reform Institute. A native of New Jersey, he is based in Houston and writes on municipal finance and other urban issues.


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