Horn blasts Burch for being over budget
Denton County Judge Mary Horn has fired another missile at Constable Precinct 4 Tim Burch - this time because he is over budget in nearly every area of his area of responsibility, and she has threatened to haul him in front of commissioners court for a public accounting if he doesn't keep his operating funds under control.
Messages between public officials are subject to open records. The following is a reprint of the message she sent to him.
September 18, 2013
Constable Precinct #4
217 N. Oak Street
Roanoke, TX 76262-6615
Dear Constable Burch,
Please review the attached information regarding budgeted amounts and expenditures for your office to date for Fiscal Year 2013. Each Constable Office receives a budget for a specific amount for these line items at the beginning of the fiscal year, with the expectation that if the amount expended over the course of the year exceeds the budgeted amount for any line item, your office will request fund transfers to cover the shortfall from within your own budget.
As of September 18, 2013, you exceeded the budgeted amounts for line items 4230 Postage, 5010 Training and Education, 6270 Remote Access, 6610 Vehicle Repairs, and 6620 Tires and Tubes by $84.40, $87.12, $99.41, $1027.29, and $1847.70 respectively; and, you had no funds remaining in appropriate line items to transfer within your budget to cover your shortfall. In addition, at $33,000 your office is budgeted the most funds for line item 4410 Gasoline among all six of the Constables offices and has come close to exceeding that amount as well as of this date. In fact, your office has spent more in gasoline than any other Constable Office in FY2013 and over $8500 more than the average of all constable offices together.
This must stop.
The Commissioners Court approves the budget for all county offices, both elected and non-elected. Through a lengthy budget process, we provide an adequate budget for all constables to perform their statutorily mandated duties, which are to “execute and return as provided by law each process, warrant, and precept that is directed to the constable and is delivered by a lawful officer.” We are not obligated, however, to pay for any duties beyond those statutorily mandated, particularly if those other duties do not conform to a legally authorized county purpose.
The attached statistical data summarized by the Budget Office for all six Constables Offices, listing Civil Cases, Warrants Received, Warrants Cleared, Recalls, Bailiff Hours, and Traffic Citations per deputy does not indicate that your officers perform at a higher rate of service than officers across the county. In fact, the actual data for FY2012 indicates that your office of 5 deputies completed service for warrants received, warrants cleared, and traffic citations issued per deputy at a significantly lower rate than any other constable’s office, while also performing below the average case load per deputy among all six constable offices for civil cases and recalls. The statistical data available for actual numbers for FY2013 through today’s date corresponds to this same analysis.
Perhaps your office will be able to stay within the FY 2014 budget, which begins on October 1, 2013, if you strictly concentrate on performing the mandated duties within your own precinct.
Commissioners Court has an obligation to the county taxpayers to be fiscally responsible. My office will continue to monitor the budgets and statistical data for all Denton County Constables Offices as we wind down FY2013 and commence FY2014. If this same disturbing trend as noted above continues in the new fiscal year, you will be asked to appear before Commissioners Court for a thorough public discussion of the problem.
Denton County Judge