From the President
I have had a most interesting summer attending the various regional conferences around the state. I started out in San Angelo with the West Texas group. I had a great time and enjoyed sitting under a tree and visiting with some folks I had never had the pleasure of meeting before. Next, I went to Killeen to my home region conference with the North & East bunch. I enjoyed seeing many of my old friends; I was really amazed that so many of them looked so old, while I still look the same after 24 years! I just returned from San Marcos and the South Texas conference, and I really enjoyed those folks. They really got down to business, and I thank Calhoun County Commissioner Roger Galvan and his fellow officers for putting on a great show. I believe there were 84 exhibitors, and I thank them for their participation. Collectively, I would like to thank all of the associations and their officers for what they have done for their regions, and for the kindness they have shown to me and my wife on these visits.
The reason I mentioned all these regional shows is to remind you to register for our upcoming State Conference to be held in Waco Oct. 4-7. We are steadily working on the conference, and throughout the next couple of months I will be announcing our speakers and sharing information on our events, leisure activities and giveaways. This conference will be at the beginning of your budget year, and you can receive your 16 hours in a shortened format. As of press time our host hotel was full, and we were down to 17 rooms at the overflow hotel. Feel free to call us for additional information on lodging.
Most of you are likely right in the middle of your budget preparations and trying to make some decisions on what to do or not to do. I am extremely concerned about which way to go on future projects and salary increases, and what to put in the budget for gas for the upcoming year. I feel like we can’t get behind on repair projects, and we sure can’t close down our jail. I’ve always considered myself a tax-paying commissioner who likes to look at the big picture. I continue to receive phone calls from people who make $15 per hour and have not received a cost-of-living increase in three years. I also think of our dedicated employees who work here; they have families and their insurance has gone up – yet they have not received a cost-of-living increase to match. Then, I think of our tax-paying citizens who have to bear the burden. I know we all factor in these situations and make the best decisions for our counties.
I don’t know how many of you participate in the Federal Medicaid Upper Payment Limit (UPL) program, where you can pay a hospital or hospitals part of your indigent care obligation – which is 8 percent of your General Revenue Tax Levy. The program earns federal matching funds of $2.44 for every qualifying dollar invested by the county. That really helps the hospitals provide indigent care. I hope you might take a look at this program or call Jim Allison, our general counsel, for additional details if you are interested.
All roads lead to Waco, and I hope you are planning on being there!