Bowie County Commissioner Tom Whitten, Precinct 2, suggested the Court appoint a 5-person financial advisory board, with each member of the Court to pick one member.
He read from a prepared statement:
The Citizens of Bowie County demand and deserve our very best. They have placed their full faith and trust in us as elected officials to do just that. We have had our bond rating lowered two times within the last four months and we are still currently under review. Ladies and gentlemen, this is unacceptable. I would not tolerate this personally and will not allow this to go on unanswered.
We have been advised by both Boyd London, our bond counsel, and Moody’s, who made the downgrades, to present a five-year plan to, as Mr. London said, “turn this ship around.” In an effort to secure the best plan available, we need the best planners we can get. Our County is blessed with exceptional entrepreneurs, bankers, CEOs and CPAs that have credentials and success that could be of great value in this capacity, and if asked, would be willing to serve as committee members toward this great undertaking.
The situation we find ourselves in is unprecedented in my recollection and this County has not been exposed. We will have to work together, and with our community’s business and financial leader help, we will overcome our unrivaled financial position.
I am therefore requesting we form an advisory committee made up of successful business men and/or women who would be willing to serve their County in such a worthy endeavor. I would request each Commissioner and our Judge select an appointee. This committee should provide us with a single or possibly a few options to consider achieving the five-year plan as requested.
I have not altered my position – it is a priority of mine to get our credit rating back to A1 and should also be a priority of this court. Doing so would move our County in a positive financial direction and move toward restoring the trust voters placed in us when elected.
Our next Court date should be an adequate amount of time for each member to secure their selection to the committee. Our Auditor will be present during all meetings and provide any and all materials and/or information they deem necessary to complete their findings and recommendations. Hopefully they can complete this before our 2014-2015 budget for consideration.
This is a first step, with many to follow. Our full recovery financially and the restoration of our A1 bond rating will not be overnight, but following an outstanding and well-orchestrated plan, can and will be achieved over time.
Whitten suggested that the committee be limited in duration to one year, and that the members all live inside Bowie County.
His suggestion seemed to meet with enthusiasm, and after brief discussion, the motion to form the committee passed unanimously. Each member of the Court is expected to bring their recommendation to the next session.