During the Nov. 12, 2019 meeting of the Howard County Commissioners Court, several Howard County residents urged county commissioners to keep the position of the Texas A&M AgriLife County Extension Agent for Family and Community Health in Howard County. The position is currently held by Sandy Taylor and is currently set to be terminated at the end of the year, along with the county trapper position.
Each person expressed different reasons and examples as to why the position was needed. Commissioners were advised that cutting the position would make a cut in beneficial programs for youth and adults in Howard County.
Commissioner Jimmy Long, Pct. 3, stated that although he understood the benefits of keeping the county extension agent, the decision to cut both positions were made in order to be proactive and to plan for the future. He also encouraged those who spoke during the meeting to contact their state representatives, Texas State Representative Drew Darby and Texas Senator Kel Seliger.
“These are small steps that we can make now to, hopefully, deter larger steps we have to make in the future. I don’t know. We don’t know how [SB 2] will affect Howard County,” said Long. He went on to say that that state legislature continues to pass unfunded mandates every two years when they meet.
“[Recently,] There were seven new unfunded mandates that were passed down on counties that we now have to pay for out of our existing budget,” he continued. According to Commissioner Long, approximately 80-85 percent of the county budget goes to unfunded state mandates.
Commissioner Long told KBest News that that he feels certain that there would be more cuts in the near future in order to balance the budget and pay for the multiple non-funded state mandates that are coming.
“It’s sad because I think it takes away from some of the local programs that are good for our counties, but at the same time, we’re given the responsibility as a Commissioners Court to manage the tax payers’ money within a budget that’s reasonable,” said Long.
“I hate it for the public. [The Public Comments] tugged at my heart strings today, but I can’t make decisions based off of that. I have to make decisions based on planning for the future of Howard County.”
TEXAS STATE REPRESENTATIVE DREW DARBY
36 W. Beauregard Suite 517
San Angelo, TX 76903
Ph: (325) 658-7313
Fax: (325) 659-3762 Fax
TEXAS STATE SENATOR KEL SELIGER
401 Austin, Suite 101
Big Spring, TX 79720
(432) 268-9909 (TEL)
(432) 268-9899 (FAX)