County court looks at budget summary

Judge Little presents overview of departmental funding requests

Bill Spinks
Waxahachie Daily Light
The Ellis County Historic Courthouse.

With budget season well underway, the Ellis County Commissioners’ Court took time during Tuesday’s regular bi-weekly meeting to discuss some of the numbers for the 2021-2022 fiscal year.

County Judge Todd Little presented to all four county commissioners a synopsis of the itemizations for the budget. The figures take into account the funding requests of county department heads. Each department was broken down into personnel and equipment categories. Salary increase requests are included under personnel.

In summary, a total of $4.1 million is planned for total personnel costs, which includes all part-time employees as well as merit pay for certificates and longevity. The equipment column is just over $3 million. These figures do not include road and bridge funds and some Sheriff’s Office salary increases, Little noted.

Non-departmental budget items will be presented in upcoming days.

“There’s a lot of mouths to feed and a lot of hands to put to work,” Little said. “I don’t know if we’ve ever looked at like this before, but it’s very helpful information.”

It’s possible that not every department will receive the funding that was asked for. The appraised tax roll from the Ellis Appraisal District will be certified by July 25, which will allow the county to balance revenues with expenses and move forward with budget approval in August.

County commissioners congratulated Little for formulating a budget summary, which they said hadn’t been done before. Precinct 3 Commissioner Paul Perry said county employees should be rewarded for their loyalty throughout the coronavirus pandemic with raises, something the county skipped last year amid economic uncertainty.

Little said the court will be holding a special workshop next week to discuss health coverage options for county employees.

Other items

• Before the meeting, the court held a workshop to discuss the scope of the county’s investment grade audit with McKinstry officials.

• Judge Little issued a proclamation declaring the month of June to be Elder Abuse Prevention and Awareness Month in Ellis County.

• County human resources employee Sharon Mancilla was recognized for her completion of certification as a Professional in Human Resources.

• The consent agenda included approval of previous meeting minutes, acceptance of various reports, a contract amendment to allow for cooperative purchasing, approval of a $5,623 property tax refund, and several budgetary line item transfers.

• A series of plat amendments was approved for a total of 16 lots in The Cross Fence at Oak Vista subdivision in the extraterritorial jurisdiction of Waxahachie.

• A one-time variance was approved for a 10.08-acre property on the west side of Hollis Road south of FM 875 for not meting the minimum road frontage requirement.

• A performance bond was accepted for the proposed 70-acre Winding Creek Estates, which is located near the intersection of FM 664 and Shiloh Road in the ETJ of the city of Ovilla.

• The court approved the purchase of four high-definition security cameras from Bat Security in the amount of $15,612. The cameras will be in use at the county’s tax offices in Waxahachie, Ennis, Midlothian and Red Oak.

• The purchase of a CimLine one-man patcher was approved for Road and Bridge Precinct 1 in the amount of $221,212 from R.B. Everett & Company.

• Commissioners approved the authorization of the solicitation of bids for an inmate medical services provider.

• Asphalt paving projects on the north and south ends of the bridge on Pigg Road were approved in the amount of $318,791.

• The court appointed Leeanne Bridges to the Ellis County Bail Bond Board for the county judge’s office.

• The county’s Indigent Defense office in Midlothian is being relocated to marge with the Indigent Defense office in Ennis following a vote of commissioners.

The court appointed Jim Wehmeier, director of economic development for the city of Ennis, as the Ellis County designee to the North Central Texas Economic Development Board for a one-year term beginning Sept. 1.