Remember last month when White County passed their 2012 budget and increased total expenditures increasing by 31% from last year? And remember when I told you that the county was leaving $7 million of their projected revenues unbudgeted?
Well, somehow, despite the huge surplus, county judge Mike Lincoln has now decided that the county road budget must be cut, by $1.5 million to be exact.
The judge blamed the cuts on ‘rising gas prices’ which are causing people to drive less and hurting state turnback totals. This despite the fact that gas prices have been falling quickly over the last 4 weeks, even in White County where prices typically stay inflated.
What has changed in the last 3 weeks since the quorum court voted to pass the 2012 budget? It certainly wasn’t an increase in gas prices.
There is an article in today’s local paper about this. If you have access, you can hop over and read it, but honestly, it’s incoherent. Perhaps this is yet another thing that we are ‘too stupid to understand’ because we ‘don’t understand how government works?’
The real problem–for elected officials in our county–is that we do understand exactly how government works. We understand that:
- Only in government could you have a budget surplus of $7 million, and then one month later, be ‘forced’ to cut $1.5 million from the road budget
- Only in government can you propose a ‘road tax’ in September because the county has ‘serious infrastructure problems’–when the county had nearly $12 million in reserves–and say you cannot pay for improvements without a tax increase, but in December refuse to use the money you have to start fixing things.
- Only in government can you brag in November about not making any cuts in the county budget, and ‘giving everyone what they asked for,’ but 3 weeks later, cut the one program that everyone in the county (except the judge) agrees needs to be a priority.
- Only in government can county employees receive a 3% raise, but severe infrastructure needs continue to go unaddressed because of a ‘lack of funds.’
- Only in government can you spend $590,000 on a $320,000 building in October, and then cut $200,000 in gravel expenditures in December due to a ‘lack of revenue.’
Folks, I am really at a loss on this one. Our infrastructure is crumbling in this county. We have plenty of money to start making some repairs. What is going on here? Is the judge punishing us because he did not get his road tax? Can we only get real improvements if we raise taxes, even though we have millions of dollars in the bank?
I have some theories, but I want to hear what you think. You can post your thoughts below.