Monday, the Lubbock County Commissioners approved their budget for the 2017 fiscal year, bringing in changes for voting equipment and employee salaries.
County Commissioner for Precint 1, Bill McCay, said that approvind voting equipment was the most significant decision made in this year’s budget talks.
“The biggest ticket item is election equipment,” McCay said. “We’ve had our current equipment for over ten years, and it’s time to replace that equipment. [The current equipment] is working just fine, we’re confident in it, but if we get additional equipment there are additional discounts and we have an early adopter program that a vendor has offered.”
Commissioners also approved a pay increase of 3% for all county employees. McCay explained that it’s a necessary step to help retain county employees. He added that quite a few county employees have left their positions for jobs in the oil fields.
“We have a turnover rate that’s always nipping at our heels, so having to retain employees, it’s more cost effective than losing a good employee,” he said.
McCay explained that the county also allocated more money toward road repairs, but explained that the voting equipment updates were by far the most significant expense.
He added that the commissioners kept the tax rate the same this year, and explained for five out of the past seven years, commissioners have either kept the tax rate the same or decreased it.
Debbie Anderson, a resident of East Lubbock County, upon hearing about the changes approved in the new budget said she hasn’t felt like previous budgets have improved the illegal dumping and poor roads in her neighborhood.
“I don’t see where my tax dolars are going now much less an increase,” Debbie said. “Where’s my money going?”
She explained that trash, weeds, fire hazards, and road maintainance problems plauge her neighborhood.
“I don’t know any of the commisisiners who have left office due to lack of money, but I have heard that due to lack of money that they can’t fix up Lubbock County on the east side,” she said.
She said this past year she has seen some improvements.
“I have noticed what they’ve done, it’s like they’ve started but never finished, I’ve heard that they’ve started fining people to clean up their yards, but I have no idea if they’ve followed up on it,” she said.
Commissioner McCay explained that the county is working to improve roads across their jurisdiction.
“We’re trying to finish up resurfacing caliche roads, but because of recent rains, we’ll have to go back out to the dirt and caliche roads and reblade those roads,” he explained.
“The problem is, as the county continues to grow, out in the South and West part of the county, there are more and more folks building homes out on these roads but there is a constant battle to keep up with these road,” McCay added.