The Gonzales County Commissioners Court will summon a third-party auditor to help answer questions relating to county’s use of budget amendments. County Judge Pat Davis objects to the county passing amendments which alter a previous fiscal year’s budget.
Just as it was before, the court was again presented with amendment #64 at its Nov. 25 meeting. The amendment would transfer $325 from the special fund balance to an expenditure line to cover a subscription increase fee for legal research service Westlaw.
Davis again took issue with the amendment adjusting the “bottom line” of the previous budget and cited a 2005 Texas Attorney General opinion which, among other findings, stated a county commissioners court have no authority to amend an expired budget.
“I’ve talked to numerous judges, I’ve talked to a lot of people in (Texas Association of Counties) and they basically tell me we just can’t do it and it would have to be corrected in this year’s budget,” Davis said.
County Auditor Becky Weston noted that the attorney general opinion is regarding closed budgets and said the county’s 2018-19 budget is not closed and will not be until the county audit in spring 2020. Weston also mentioned the Texas counties of Guadalupe, Kaufman, Wichita, Cooke and Henderson operate on a similar system.
“We’re on modified accrual, if we got any bills that were expensed for last year, we’re not creating new expenditures and we’re not spending money out of last year,” Weston said.
Precinct 1 Commissioner Donnie Brzozowski initially suggested the court invite an outside auditor and County Attorney Paul Watkins echoed that sentiment.
“I don’t have any expertise in accounting, and when that happens my recommendation is let’s bring somebody in that we all agree is an expert and let’s ask that person,” Watkins said.
The court voted unanimously to have an outside auditor come to Gonzales and address the court. Amendment #64 was again tabled for a later date.
Weston said she had recently contacted Wayne Beyer, a CPA based in Pleasanton that the county had previously used for an independent audit and he would get back to her at a later time. Though Beyer & Company will be in Gonzales for a preliminary audit around January 2020, there is no set date yet for Beyer to address the court.