Burckard and budgets

Published 8:20 pm Friday, September 25, 2015

Editor, Smithfield Times

My county costs, since 2012, have increased 25 percent. My friend, Albert Burckard, candidate for the Newport Supervisor’s seat, supports a decrease in the tax rate. He suggests cutting the pay of department heads, rolling over more costs into bonds and reducing the so-called stormwater fee by half.

Isle of Wight County and the city of Suffolk are high growth jurisdictions. It is understandable that their costs are high compared to other jurisdictions. However, we should finance more of these costs over 20 years. The supervisors’ arbitrary, self-imposed, 10 percent limit on budgetary debt payment should be set aside for a time. Let the citizens of the next 20 years share in some of these high costs.

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Also, you have noticed the last two years of our budget cycle that our budgets have been something like $150 million to $160 million instead of previous amounts of $98 million to $103 million. The new budget formats include unacceptable overlap from fund to fund. The formats hide from citizens the revenues and traditional cost categories and make it impossible to compare budgets from year to year. In effect, citizens and supervisors are eliminated from the budget process and become totally dependent on a comfortable, six-figure income county administrator and budget director for its financial decisions. Increases of 25 percent do not bother them personally, but make their work easier.

Albert has pledged to return to the old budget format so citizens can make sense of our budgets and see what our true costs are and what can be changed. The true costs are not $150 million, but $98 million to $103 million. Obviously, only then can citizens navigate their budgetary future. Also, Albert would eliminate stormwater fees for churches. Please support Albert for lower taxes and stormwater fees.

Thomas Finderson