Passing on county costs

Published 9:16 pm Tuesday, January 5, 2016

    Editor, Smithfield Times

    On page 6 of the Dec. 30 issue of this newspaper it is mentioned that one of the accomplishments of the outgoing administration was “eliminating” Isle of Wight’s budget deficit and putting its finances back in the black. In my opinion, the alleged eliminated debt was passed to the citizens in the form of higher taxes, fees and reduced services. As for the finances being back in the black, it may be a bookkeeping illusion to obtain the desired darkness; we need transparency.

    The New Year brings a new Board of Supervisors and their primary goal should be to change the staff culture to one of service and respect. Revising the county’s organization (available on the County’s website) and consolidating similar responsibilities among the departments will reduce administrative staffs, costs and establish clear lines of accountability to the Board and the citizens. Staff should be rewarded for individually attained goals. One option would be to base salary increases on the percentage of cost reductions that they achieve within their departmental budgets. Across the board salary increases should be eliminated. There should be a requirement for those making more than $100,000 to move to the county within a year from now by offering stipends to pay for their moves.

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    The water contract must be re-negotiated by considering offering the County’s Water Public Utilities to the Western Water Authority in exchange for them supplying the infrastructure and water needs of the county. The Hampton Roads Sanitation District currently provides sewage services to the County, the same model should be applied for the water supply; water and sewage go hand in hand.

    Are County’s stormwater and other environmental programs helping the Chesapeake Bay or just about increasing revenue? Eliminate the rumors and give us the facts.

Jose E. Hernandez