Hey it’s Terrific Tuesday again. How’s everything in your neck of the woods?
As for me it is more of the same. We are in the stretch of late winter that drags along unmercifully. Will March come in like a Lion or be a Lamb? My guess? The Lion. The wind has been brisk all winter, but is it the wind of change?
In Botetourt County we are getting more of the same– less transparency, more costs, fallen revenues. I hear we have a 2 million dollar budget shortfall. Just guessing as no official numbers have been made public but the tom-toms have said. Meetings are scheduled for the county budget committee on several days in March. No one official has told me that, but a few folks a have pushed forward a document from the County Finance Dept. with the days listed. Three Supervisors on a budget committee means it’s a public meeting. They are Terry Austin, Steve Clinton and Jack Leffel. Oh boy! I can go unless there are employment issues or a national secret or two. Ha!
I noticed one of the meetings is scheduled to “finalize the tax rate” Dare we guess what’s likely for dinner on your real estate and maybe other tax rates as well? Eat on a smaller plate, it will help you save money to pay taxes and you can lose weight, too. See- I made a positive spin. Question is how much? We still haven’t risen to the old rate from the mid 2000′s. Bet we are looking at the same as last year– any takers –another 7% hike? Time will tell, but us poor folks are wondering what happens next as our plate is already little.
After saying all of that, we can’t go without goods and services neither in EMS nor Public Safety nor the schools where the budget has been bare bones for a couple of years. The school children deserve a competitive education in a country where their generation is being saddled with trillions of debt. The Sheriff’s Department has been a good steward of the money often giving back money, but they are short on help and maybe even patience. Pay raises may be in the offing as well. As for EMS– we need to cultivate those volunteers because they are a valuable asset.
It makes the wallet scream and us pay attention, but in the scheme of things, we know we have better schools, public safety, etc than Roanoke City and still pay less taxes. Is this the new normal and is it why so many of us feel dismay in 2013? I think the Lion will roar in March from the conservatives in this county “who ain’t too fond of taxes” in the first place.
Do more with less has become the mantra of America in 2013. I still want to know about that 5 million plus change the appeared in the County’s Certified Annual Financial Report from 2011 to 2012. Check out the CAFR on the county website. I am hopeful to find out. Until then it is more of the same…
See ya next week!