How did we find ourselves here? The BOC is facing another round of layoffs and a tax increase to balance the budget.
To some the tax hike is more than they can stand. For them, NO tax increase, NO matter the reason or amount — period! We can find some other way to reduce the budget. If we can not find the excess in the County’s many departments, we can always drop a firefighter, EMT or sheriff’s officer. After all, their budgets are full and ripe for the picking.
Others say we have to increase taxes because allowing the county to cut the public safety budget will only put us at risk: Increase the risk of losing our lives and property to fire, theft or other violence.
I say either way, we will have to pay.
With the public safety budget cut, home owners will have to pay higher property insurance rates because the insurance company will say we do not have enough firefighters or police.
With the one mill property tax hike, we will definitely have to pay more but hopefully less then loss of property or increase in insurance premiums.
Nevertheless, how did we get here?
The BOC said the housing bust and reduced sales tax digest has wrecked the county. We simply are not buying as much as we were two years ago. The BOC said these economic factors have forced them to go back to the home owners for more revenue.
The BOC has dipped into the reserves for the last 5 years, repeatedly, until they ran out of reserves. Things are so bad, that after meeting with the bond attorneys the Chairman said he did not realize “how many serious eyes are watching the county.”
How could this happen in a Republican county? The party that prides itself on fiscal responsibility! Fiscal responsibility is more then saying NO Taxes. It is using those revenues in the most efficient manner.
Is it efficient to force out an Emergency Response Head because he said he would not eliminate required staff training. Then spend two years interviewing, hiring, firing, substituting, and then starting over.
Is it efficient to fire the CFO because the BOC wanted to make political points against the prior board? Then leave the position vacant because the Chairman wanted to run the county like his car lot and insurance agency; to leave the county without any fiscal leadership.
Then interview, withdraw the position, lower the pay scale and then give a pay raise so the person would accept the position?
Don’t get me wrong, the CFO is worth EVERY penny we pay her. It’s the process I question.
Is it efficient to use the county attorney for almost every decision brought to the board? To use the attorney for private battles within the board, against employees and small businesses that happen to offend their sensibilities. To increase the attorney’s budget because the BOC’s arrogant decisions need legal defense.
I wrote this letter not to anger, but to shame.
To shame the BOC for allowing it to come to this; they should be ashamed of the way they have handled what we have entrusted to them.
To shame the citizens of Barrow County for allowing the elected officials to do as they pleased for their own personal gain. Of the 75,000 citizens, how many vote? A handful! Did you vote?
The one mil tax rate hike will put the commissioners’ political future at risk, but reducing the public safety budget would leave the county at risk.
Philip & Jacquelin Twiss
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Have you noticed the BOC has not cut its salary. The BOC have not laid off any of themselves. In fact Danny just gave himself a raise so he would be making more than the county manager. What is wrong with this picture. The little man and the tax payer always gets the shaft. The top dog big wigs don't have to suffer. Turn these yoyo's out and privitize the county. Let the people pay as they go. If you don't want the private services then you don't have to use them. All the county needs is the fire, ambulance, police and tag/tax departments. We don't need a county coucil to run those departments. Just have department heads that are elected by the people. But that may not work ... look what we have voted for in the past. People things have to change. What we have now DOES NOT WORK. Thus, we must do something different. I know it means a whole new way of thinking. That is what is lacking from the BOC now ... forward thinking. What say you?