CONROE – During the July 29, 2021 budget workshop, Montgomery County Treasurer Melanie Bush requested an additional entry level employee for the Treasurer’s Office at the cost of $52K per year with benefits.
At that time, Treasurer Bush claimed the employee would help with payroll tasks and allow her to focus on increasing investment income for the county. Bush went as far as to claim, “I can guarantee you will see the recoup of those funds through my involvement [in investments]” and “I think you can pay for this position, the $52K, out of what you will get from investments with my being able to be more involved in it.”
The Commissioners Court agreed to allow the additional entry level employee.
Almost 6 months later, the investment results are disappointing. The latest available reports show the county has invested $30 million more as of January 31, 2022 than was invested when Treasurer Bush made her original claim. The reports also show the average interest rate is slightly higher today than it was when she made her claim.
However, having more money invested at a slightly higher interest rate has not increased investment income to last year’s levels. In fact, the investment income for FY 2022 is projected to be between $250,000 and $300,000 lower than last year, even after eliminating the non-recurring interest income related to CARES Act and ARPA funds from last year’s investment income.
Now, taxpayers are paying for an extra payroll employee, investment income has not increased compared to last year, and the payroll function has been removed from the Treasurer’s Office due to excessive payroll and W-2 errors.
The Treasurer’s Office budget was not reduced when payroll duties were reassigned, and the existing employees remain in the Treasurer’s Office.
The Commissioners Court plans to wait until the July 2022 budget workshops to discuss the Treasurer’s budget.