County must make hard decisions

Published 2:04 pm Friday, June 15, 2012

The Decatur County Board of Commissioners is currently facing a $1.5 million deficit in its upcoming fiscal year 2012-13 budget, and there is no doubt that tough decisions will need to be made.

Wednesday, the county commissioners met for a budget workshop to discuss a possible $500,000 in cuts that might be made. These $500,000 in cuts will certainly negatively affect some organizations, but this is a necessary step to fill the budget gap.

The most major of those proposed cuts would take $250,000 in promised funding to the Memorial Hospital Authority, and instead place it back in the general fund.

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During the discussion Wednesday, commissioners seemed to arrive at a consensus that raising property taxes needs to be a last resort, and something to be avoided. Several noted that it is an election year, and three commissioners — Dr. David C. “Butch” Mosely, Russell Smith and Dr. Charles T. Stafford — are running for re-election. Certainly a tax increase is never a positive move for any politician who hopes to be re-elected.

However, other commissioners voiced their opinion that their electoral hopes shouldn’t matter, and that the commissioners should do what is right for the county. At this point, it is likely too early to tell if a property tax rate increase is necessary.

But, if it is the only solution to solving the county’s budget crisis, we hope that all the commissioners will “bite the bullet” and do what’s best for the county, rather than worry about their political futures.

The bottom line is that the commission is on the right track, and we encourage them to continue to find ways to cut expenses in lieu of raising taxes.