June 13, 2017
After months of budget discussions without allowing any citizen input, the BOC finally held (legally required) public hearings on the budget.
Even though everyone knew it wasn’t going to change any minds on the BOC, two citizens attended to give their opinions.
Mr. Charles Forsythe, a 30 year veteran of finance and budgeting for the Pentagon, spoke first. He has attended most all budget meetings, and his comments were based on what he heard and saw during those meetings.
Mr. Forsythe urged the BOC to use the rollback rate since it appears that there will be a $500,000 surplus, and taxpayers have been overtaxed. Property owners were also overtaxed the previous year, when there was also a big surplus.
Mrs. Mary Patrick, a local CPA and former commissioner, spoke next. She pointed out that citizens had not been allowed to be involved in the budget process at all (there were no citizen comments allowed at any budget worksession).
Mrs. Patrick also pointed out that using $150,000 of the curbside fund was going to leave a big problem for someone else in the future when it was time to have landfill post-closure funds available. Curbside funds were also used last year to balance the budget.
After finally being allowed to express their opinion, which is what a public hearing is for, Comm. Craig Salmon tried his best to disparage the citizens and deride their comments. Unfortunately, the other commissioners allowed this to occur.
Salmon, who of course is much more of a budgeting expert than Mr. Forsythe, responded to Forsythe’s comments:
Salmon then responded to Patrick’s comments. Of course, posting an agenda and letting people attend a meeting (because they are legally required to) is not the same as allowing them to comment or even ask questions during the budget process.
Salmon’s comment of “we are trying to involve the citizens” is nothing but lip service.
The next public hearing for the budget is June 19 at 6:00PM. Why waste your time?
Citizens, be informed and stay informed! Only by being informed, can the citizens understand what is being done and talked about, and then press our officials to make good decisions for everyone in Jasper County. That is our goal with the Taxdogs blog.