Sanders tells Rotarians how the county is saving tax dollars
By Robyn Wheeler
Monitor Staff Writer
KEMP–Henderson County Judge Richard Sanders reviewed the state of the county with the Rotary Club of Cedar Creek Lake members Jan. 9.
Sanders, a lifelong Texan from the Panhandle, said he is irritated when politicians talk about creating jobs.
“The government doesn’t create jobs,” Sanders said. “Business people in our communities create jobs. Sixty percent of new jobs are created by small businesses and jobs created by the government costs taxpayers money.”
Sanders thanked Rotary members for what they do for the Cedar Creek Lake community as a club and for help to grow the economy by keeping their businesses running.
“Henderson County is financially very strong. We are finding innovative ways to save money,” he added.
The county has seen many changes to lower costs without increasing taxes.
Sanders said he believes in limited government and would like to see Henderson County fulfill its responsibilities without increasing manpower.
“It is a difficult process as the cost of labor, materials, health benefits continue to go up,” Sanders said.
When the county offices moved to the new annex building, a new phone system was implemented which will save taxpayers about $90,000 by the end of 2015.
“We had 125 lines coming into county that we didn’t need. In 2011, we also went from six justices of the peace to five, saving $250,000 per year,” he added.
The biggest change affecting Henderson County residents is the establishment of two environmentally-friendly electric companies in the next few years.
“The number one thing is to not harm our environment,” Sanders said. “We need electric companies that burn natural gas.”
Southern Power is slated to build a plant in Trinidad, which will mean more tax revenue for surrounding schools and towns. Twenty to 30 construction jobs will be created for approximately two years and once built, 20 permanent well-paid jobs will be available. Southern Power’s plans have been approved by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality and is currently seeking to finalize a contract with a huge buyer like Oncor.
“This guarantees they will be here a long time,” Sanders said.
Another power company is also in the planning phase of building a plant in the southeastern part of the county to help out during brownouts. This back-up power source will start up their plants after an outage so residents do not experience a break in electrical service.
Sanders said the court will save $40,000 a year by bringing in a Spanish speaking man who volunteered to translate.
“I am a fiscal conservative. I believe in living within your means and I don’t want to raise taxes,” Sanders said.
Another big change for the county will be the installation of new judicial software. The current AbleTerm software has been in use for the past 15 years, but is now outdated and without technical support.
The new Odyssey software will cost about $1 million and is slated to go live in March.
Currently, Henderson County’s population is approximately 78,500.
In other news, Rotarians heard:
• The Henderson County Black Rodeo (HCBR) is inviting citizens to participate in a Solidarity March, following the Martin Luther King, Jr. parade Monday, Jan. 19. HCBR is hoping to have more than 1,000 people participate in the march.
Individuals, groups or teams of all nationalities, religions and races should meet at 10 a.m. at the park across from the Trinity Valley Community College parking lot. The guest speaker at the event is District 4 Texas State Representative Stuart Spitzer.