in Houston, Texas
Nueces County short $2.1 million for fiscal year 2011, 28 departments over budget
Thursday, Apr 12, 2012, 09:52AM CST
By Mark Lisheron

Note to governments everywhere from Nueces County: When 28 of your departments are over budget, you’re probably going to be short at the end of the year.

Short $2.1 million through the end of the 2011 fiscal year to be exact, the Corpus Christi Caller-Times is reporting today.

A decade’s worth of budgeting tricks in the county was undone by the time-tested formula of not enough money coming in and too much money going out. Has a Washington, D.C., ring to it, except the county doesn’t just write it off.

Nueces County found it had collected $415,052 less in property taxes than it projected, even though the county - and the rest of the country - has been struggling with a drop in property values since the economy began its southward plummet in 2008.

This was in part due to the county having for the last 10 years counting on taking in more and spending less than it actually budgeted for, a fingers crossed budgeting gimmick.

Had a few county departments not been so frugal, County Auditor Peggy Hayes told county commissioners Wednesday, things would have been worse. Thank court administration and mechanical maintenance, both coming in at 20 percent under budget.

It was county court-at-law, two districts courts, the medical examiner, the library and 23 other budgeting entities that didn’t do so well.

Hayes said it might be time to revise the county’s budgeting methods. We suggest this include remedial math for 28 department heads.

Contact Mark Lisheron at 512-299-2318 or or on Twitter at @marktxwatchdog.

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Photo '259/365 - short' by flickr user jypsygen, used via a Creative Commons license.

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