June 3, 2014
After announcing the 2 mil increase (1 for the Sheriff and 1 for the General Fund according to Comm. Trammell), there were comments by both Comm. Trammell and Comm. Luke.
1 mil = $316,000
The BOC says their property taxes have all gone down 15-20% since 2009. Comm. Trammell talks about the county digest going down, as if this is something unique. Every county’s digest has gone down since 2009.
Comm. Trammell wants to know–What’s Decreased over the last 4 years besides misery? Just to name a few things: 1. Our pay and income, 2. The value of our houses and land, 3. The number of homeowners due to foreclosures, 4. The value of our pension’s, IRA’s, etc. which now might barely be back to 2008 levels, 5. Our standard of living. These are all things that matter when facing a 2 mil tax increase.
Comm. Luke says EVERYTHING has quadrupled in cost since 2009. A gallon of milk, a gallon of gas, everything. This is an exaggeration of course to make it sound like there is no alternative to raising taxes. Raising taxes is the easy way to balance a budget; it is tough to make decisions and cuts.
This BOC has been on a spending spree, and it has caught up with them. The amount of payments on debt was budgeted at $98,900 in 2014. For 2015 just the payments on debt is budgeted at $145,379. This is almost a 50% increase.
The last BOC had 2 loans that were taken out in April 2010 and are to be paid off in April 2015. The original loans totaled $307,345. This BOC has borrowed $587,378 since Karen Degges became County Manager, and really just since October 2013. The BOC also plans to borrow $250,000 more on 7/1/14—the first day of the new budget year. That’s $837,378 of new debt in less than a year in the General Fund alone!
In addition this BOC is loading us up with debt at every meeting to be paid with SPLOST. If you had asked any BOC member yesterday how much debt SPLOST has incurred since Karen Degges came aboard, they probably couldn’t tell you. At Monday night’s meeting they added another $377,424 to all the debt they’ve already incurred by financing everything. This BOC doesn’t believe in pay as you receive the money. All this debt just might be more than is received in SPLOST.
The new proposed budget will have a 2 mil increase equaling $632,000 of additional tax income. The budget also shows $480,011 being moved out of the Curbside fund into the General Fund to balance the budget. Instead of making cuts our BOC is adding $1.1 million of new taxes and fund transfers.
Next year might be worse because this Board of Commissioners doesn’t know how to stop spending.