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Now’s not the time

Surely, in the economic times we all are suffering through now, you would think the last thing a politician with any sense would mention is a tax increase.

But apparently, because of a $450,000 shortfall of a more than $32 million county budget, commissioners are debating a property tax increase. An increase proposed would be 0.57 mills, which would translate into $23 more taxes for property with a fair market value of $100,000.

Not much in relative terms, but the county’s shortfall isn’t much either in relative terms—a little more 1.4 percent of the total budget.

Talk—such as that by some county commissioners—is “having to cut services” versus raising taxes.

Malarkey!

The county should re-examine its policy of paid time off, managing its overtime better and standardizing the overtime policies among the various departments.

The proposed budget states the sheriff’s department spent $262,123 in overtime last year and $205,000 is proposed.

However, Emergency Medical Services spend more on overtime last year—$288,218, and it has $282,000 budgeted for next year.

Corrections spent $178,504 in overtime, the jail spent $136,314 and the county Fire and Rescue department spent $155,504.

Surely there are ways to cut budgets, and re-examining the county’s overall policy toward overtime is one of them.

But a tax increase?

Surely not.