By BOB PALMER
Jimplecute News Editor
JEFFERSON – In a vote reminiscent of Yogi Berra’s “it’s deja vu all over again,” county commissioners rejected the Marion Central Appraisal District budget last week for the fifth consecutive year.
Commissioner Charlie Treadwell’s angst over CAD employees earning more than county employees doing similar work is hardly new, but the county’s action failed to derail the approval process for the fourth straight year.
Jefferson ISD, for the fourth year in a row, and the and Avinger ISD have approved the budget. The City of Jefferson tabled the matter and Chief Appraiser Ann Lummus heard Wednesday that Ore City ISD will not vote on the issue.
According to Lummus, three no votes from the five entities served by the CAD will kill the budget, forcing the district to redraft a budget.
“An entity can abstain,” Lummus said. “If any entity does not vote on it, it is considered a yes vote.”
June 6 is the last day to record a vote on the budget and with Jefferson and Ore City ISD opting to abstain, the budget is approved, 4-1.
Treadwell said the county has voted against the MCAD budget for the past five years.
“I don’t have anything against the Appraisal District,” said Treadwell, the most vocal opponent of the CAD budget on the Commissioners Court. “They do a good job.”
Treadwell’s objection rests solely on the CAD pay scale.
“The gap between the salaries, it just continues to widen,” Treadwell said.
The $542,000 MCAD budget includes a 3.8 percent increase for payroll. Salaries went from $225,750 last year to $234,440. Total payroll including taxes and benefits reaches $314,764.
The proposed budget includes a $3,000 boost for the chief appraiser, a 4.6 percent increase which brings Lummus’ pay to $68,000. Lummus said this was the first increase in the chief appraiser’s salary for six years.
All district employees received a pay raise.
“I am just trying to keep our pay competitive with other appraisal districts in the area,” Lummus said.
Treadwell finds the situation a pill too bitter to swallow.
“It’s hard to accept a budget, when the people it affects make more money than your people,” Treadwell said.
In May, the Jimplecute published salaries for all Marion County employees. The report can be viewed on Jimplecute1848.com. On Wednesday, the Jimp requested and was given a copy of MCAD’s current budget which includes salaries of employees.
Clerks at MCAD earn between $31,000 and $35,000. Courthouse clerks average $25,000.
The long-serving commissioner added a note of resignation.
“There’s probably nothing can be done about it,” Treadwell conceded.
The new budget will raise the county’s annual contribution to the CAD by $3,381 to $153,042. Jefferson ISD pays the most to support the district with a $320,683 contribution, up $7,000.
Each entity supports the CAD budget based on the percentage of the county’s total tax levy they receive.
Other budget contributions include Jefferson, $41,000; Avinger ISD, $2,000; Ore City ISD, $7,800, and Marion County Hospital District, $16,500.
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