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Commissioners approve budget for 2014

January 1, 2014

With the old year wrapped up and the new year just beginning, the Washington County Commissioners have cemented appropriations for the 2014 county budget....

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Jan-01-14 10:13 AM

Every single person in this county uses roads and bridges and these guys, while they gave a little, continue to resist giving the townships the money the tax was meant for. A mere 26% ...2% more than last year... Thank, but where's the 85% in the original deal.

Two commissioners ran on returning the money. Where it? Ron...David. 2% ? Come on! Its time for everyone in the county to demand they get off their money addiction from this sales tax and return it to the townships.

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Jan-01-14 1:12 PM

Surprise Surprise.The biggest spender of taxes is not even mentioned!!

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Jan-01-14 5:46 PM

How could anyone disagree with MPoppins?

If we all decided to repeal the tax, the county would go out of business.

They are addicted to sales tax money and they need a good intervention. Voters hold them accountable.

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Jan-01-14 6:27 PM

Of course the S.O. was left out. And the Commissioners are returning the money they didn't say it wouldn't take a career to do it in remember they are politicians now!

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Jan-02-14 7:03 AM

Where is the WCSO Budget report? Weird!!!!

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Jan-02-14 3:25 PM

So we don’t like the piecemeal redirection of the county budget for 2014? We’d prefer that the allocation to the township and county highways be raised all the way to 85% (to $6,500,000) now rather than only to 26% (to $2,000,000) as just decided? That would nearly quadruple the amount of the 2013 T and H allocation.

And which department budgets would you cut to provide that extra money? The overall budget for 2014 is already scaled back $600,000 from 2013. You would need to cut every department listed by about 45% more to come up with the extra $4,500,000 you want to spend on township and county highways. (The sheriff's is a different budget funded from a different tax base.)

More funding for township and county highways -- yes. But a careful reordering is what is needed, not a wrecking ball. Thanks for the responsible leadership and capable staff.

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Jan-02-14 11:06 PM

Good investigating helper. That my friend is the commissioners job. They proposed the 85% way back; then took from the pot until it was 11%.

Yes they have given some back, but two out of three promised in their campaigns they were in favor of giving back. 2% is their way of giving back since they took office. I say hold their feet to the fire. Townships all over the county have made cuts in road maintenance; cuts in insurance; maintaining junk equipment just to maintain roads; not even trying to get ahead. The county needs to make cuts. The engineer has not even gotten any portion of the sales tax for years. He maintains bridges we all use. Helper, dig deeper.

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Jan-02-14 11:57 PM

I'd bet the townships and Engineer would be happy with 40-50%.

I agree a 2% raise from two guys who viewed to give back us pretty skimpy.

There are 22 townships plays the Engineer sharing the money.

No matter how the recipients divide it, its skimpy. The sales tax was put on for roads and bridges for the most part.

Why did the trustees sit still all these years? Why should those of us out in the townships and even those in the cities allow this to continue.

You go Mary.... .. You go girl.

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Jan-03-14 12:46 PM

Digging deeper, as Mary Poppins suggested, and respectfully disagreeing twice with Tingette, the goal is not to make the trustees “happy”, and the Township and County Highways spending goal should not be “40 – 50%”. The goal is to serve all existing and future county citizens honestly and well.

Further, since the sheriff is charged with keeping us safe from physical attack by others, his budget should top priority, funded robustly and managed efficiently. On the other hand, this commissioner’s budget is designed to meet the other, lower order, government services needs of all citizens. Hence, these taxes should be levied hesitantly; government should be contained and limited; and monies collected should be spent wisely and frugally. So a careful reordering, as the commissioners just accomplished, is very appropriate.

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Jan-03-14 12:47 PM

(Why the Family and Children Services and Juvenile Center budgets are still lumped in with these lower order government services and not placed on a higher level closer to the Sheriff’s is something to ponder; seems to reflect a tie-in with a traditional structure of taxing rather than a with new awareness of the likely crime rate increases from unsuccessful childrearing.)

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Jan-03-14 12:49 PM

A rapid increase of $2,000,000 in the Township and County Highways budget (as Tingette’s 40 – 50% suggests) would be overly lavish spending in that direction and would devastate the other county budgets. Granted, the T and CH budget is still sparse -- below the levels justified. But 40 to 50% is a grossly unrealistic target. 30% may be more realistic -- and fair, considering all the needs of all the citizens in the county. It would be wise, therefore, for the commissioners to now lay out a tentative 2015 – 2016 plan to reach closer to about 30%. This would require the addition of $550,000 - $600,000 to T and CH by the completion of the 2016 budget.

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Jan-03-14 12:51 PM

Commissioners could ask all departments, judges included, to help achieve this reordering. Specifically, the plan could cut all departments except Family and Juvenile by 1% in 2015, and again 1% in 2016. This would yield about $200,000. Further, the following departments would be cut by these additional amounts: Agriculture: $38,000 in 2015, then $34,000 in 2016; Board of Elections: $52,000, then $47,000; Building and grounds: $75,000, then $75,000; Veterans Affairs: $23,000, then$20,000; Economic Development: $19,000, then $17,000. These numbers are not intended to be precise.

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Jan-03-14 12:54 PM

The proceeds of these 2015-2016 cuts plus the receipt of any unexpected revenue windfalls could be earmarked to cover (1) any overall budget funds shortfall that might result from any unexpected tax and fee decreases, (2) additional emergency needs of Family and Juvenile departments, (3) additional spending for Township and County Highways moving judiciously toward the 30% target, and (4) other uses or rebates as decided by the commissioners.

As described, this plan would be a tentative target -- a working plan for all departments to work toward. Certainly the commissioners and department heads would come up with an improved format and more judiciously defined cut targets. But it would then be a plan that all departments could put their shoulders to. Accomplishing such a challenging plan would require all department heads and the commissioners to work honestly and well toward the goal of serving the government services needs of all the citizens of the county, not toward a goal o

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Jan-03-14 1:01 PM

(Apologies to Mary and Tingette,who may the the only person(s)reading this post, my previous post got cut off)

Accomplishing such a challenging plan would require all department heads and the commissioners to work honestly and well toward the goal of serving the government services needs of all the citizens of the county, not toward a goal of making people "happy".

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Jan-03-14 3:16 PM

The Helper seems to be ranting and raving.

I think the Helper should go to the Commissioners office look up the original 1% Permissive Sales Tax Resolution that states: 85% to Roads and Bridges and 15% to the General Fund. Case closed.

Whose fault is it that the County funding system has drained away at the percentages.

The people of the county who use the roads were happy to see the money being used for that purpose.

The townships; which by the way do more with their money than any form of government; can levy taxes; but the good people of this county are already taxed to death including the 1% Permissive Sales Tax and the 3 $5.00 additions to the license plate fees. How could any trustee even think to ask their voters to pay more for their roads.

It is understandable that some departments need more money. I say raise your fees: Recorder: raise costs; Judge raise fines and court costs; Clerk raise licenses, titles, court costs.

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Jan-03-14 3:30 PM

I did some simple math. Helper says they get $2,000,000.

$2 million divided by 22 townships equals $90,900. The engineer gets -0-.

Let's give the Engineer $500,000.

$1.5 mil divided by 22=$68,181.

Blacktop applied is about what 80-90T. A mile needs about 93,000.

Stone $22 a ton: Chip and seal around 13,000 per mile; 5 miles $65,000.

Not much maintenance with the little bit received from 1% Sales Tax.

Check my math; check the prices. You can figure to lie, but figures don't lie.

If the townships and the Engineer received 40% to split; which is more realistic; then you'd be helping the road and bridge system.

That's what two Commissioners pledged: giving back to the road system. Let's try for 30 in 2015 and 35 in 2016; and 40 in 2016.

Then you'll be up for re-election and we can really judge your word.

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Jan-03-14 5:49 PM

Indian accuses Helper of ranting and raving. Helper pleads guilty of being so wordy that he reads like a rant. Bottom line: 2% was reasonable, fair, and wise. Do it a couple more times.

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Jan-03-14 7:33 PM

2% is better than none. I agree. My whole point was that 2 newly elected Commissioners vowed to return money to the roads and bridges.

2% while you consider fair is an insult to the voters who bought their pledge.

The Engineer has not taken any money in the past few years; so as the math-man pointed out; give the Engineer some money from the now 26% and the townships take a net loss.

I guess figures won't lie Indian.

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