ELLIS COUNTY

The continual growth of the area has caused Ellis County Commissioners to look at its impact on the county’s infrastructure, resources, materials and personnel ahead of the first draft of next year’s budget.

The more than $62 million budget goes into effect Oct. 1.

Layne Grayson, Precinct 2, stated he would like for the county continue to move forward on road improvements to provide greater connectivity between cities and towns. But, to do that, proper planning for resources needs to be addressed.

“We need to focus more on providing resources to each commissioner’s road budget so we can continue to improve roads,” Grayson said. “We are not keeping up budget wise with funding our roadways as quickly as the expenses are climbing.”

Grayson shared the costs of road material from suppliers is on the rise, which can limit the projects commissioners can complete. He added that he is proud of the work accomplished by Precinct 2 over the past year.

Paul Perry, Precinct 3, shared Grayson’s thoughts about growing infrastructure needs and stressed the importance of retaining qualified staff in a competitive market.

“In a construction environment like this one, we have got to keep our pay where it is competitive,” Perry said.

He explained that some of the steps the county is looking at to achieve this are to possibly cover the insurance increase for employees along with adding of a cost of living increase and incentive pay.

Kyle Butler, Precinct 4, stated it has been a challenge to keep up with the growth.

“The wants always over exceed over the needs. Everybody wants a whole lot more than what are needed,” Butler said. “I think that we have done the best that we could and we a very conservative with the tax dollars. Always trying to get the best bang for the buck.”

Butler added he couldn’t get into the specifics on the budget because the court has not yet finalized it.

Randy Stinson, Precinct 1, stated he feels positive about the shape of his precinct going into next year’s budget with steps that were made to reduce costs.

“We have managed to purchase some new equipment that has allowed us to save some money and we are not paying as much money to get our rock in,” Stinson said. “We normally pay about $500 to get a load of crushed limestone in from the other side of Weatherford. We have managed to haul a lot of our rock and bring it in for about $130 a load and put that back in my budget rather than hiring an outside contractor.”

Stinson agreed with his fellow commissioners' feelings about infrastructure needs and material costs, and will look at existing resources to address some of those to reduce cost.