Now’s not the time

Published 4:26 pm Friday, July 3, 2009

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.

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


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.