Years ago, children all over the country anxiously awaited the delivery of the Sears and Roebuck catalog. Tuesday, Grayson County Commissioners approved the submission of a different kind of wish book to the county clerk — a preliminary 2019 budget.
Grayson County Judge Bill Magers said it seems a bit weird to submit a budget draft when the county isn’t even sure how much money it will raise off of property taxes for the year, but it will file the necessary paperwork this week. County Auditor Richey Rivers said the document that will be filed with the clerk is more of a wish list from elected officials and county department heads. He said it will change a number of times before it is completed this fall.
Sticking with the budgeting process, commissioners also approved a few changes at North Texas Regional Airport-Perrin Field.
RMA board Chairman Robert Brady asked commissioners to approve increasing a part-time position at the airport into a full-time position. He said there is money in the RMA budget to make the change and it is needed to keep abreast of jobs like mowing and building maintenance. Brady said it is hard, with unemployment so low in the area, to get and keep part-time employees. The part-time position that he asked to be filled, Brady said, is currently vacant. Asked whether the position, if increased, would be filled by one of his current part-time employees, Brady said he wasn’t sure. He said most of the part-time employees are retirees who like their hours the way they are currently. Brady said he just wants the best person they can get for the position.
“We need somebody with some technical skills or at least the aptitude,” Brady said.
Commissioners approved the request but had some questions about Brady’s next request before ultimately approving the promotion of one current employee at the airport and increasing his salary.
Brady said Scott Ford is on-call for emergencies and does the lighting work at the airport. He also manages the crew of three seasonal employees who work for the airport. Brady said the RMA would like to change Ford’s title to airport maintenance manager and increase his salary to reflect the work he is already doing.
“The other thing that we really need out there is some stability,” Brady said, adding having Ford stay there to oversee the temporary employees will provide that stability.
Commissioners wanted to now why Brady didn’t wait until the budget process to make the changes and Brady said that Ford has had other offers for employment and his skill set makes him worth the pay increase. Brady said the move would be budget neutral this year and would be addressed in the RMA’s budget for 2019.
“The problem is there are a lot of people here (at the county) that deserve a lot more than they get,” Commissioner David Whitlock said and asked what they are supposed to say to those people when they hear of the increase given to Ford.
Brady said he feels the change is just paying Ford for the increased responsibilities he is already shouldering. Magers said the difference is that Ford is actually getting a promotion and corresponding salary increase rather than just a salary increase for his current job.
Commissioner Bart Lawrence pointed out that actually the county is creating another job for Ford since there wasn’t an Airport Maintenance Manager position that already existed and was just vacant.
“Do you still think that is a thing to do off (of the budget cycle)?” Lawrence asked.
“He has a skill set that you can’t just go out and get,” Brady said of Ford.
Commissioners approved the changes.