Predictable Taxes

Gimmicks and nonrecurring revenue sources such as fund balance should never be used to balance a budget.
The COLA adjustment for Social Security was 2.00% in 2018. County taxes increased 1.92% in 2018.

In 2015, in an effort to be re-elected, county politicians raided almost every reserve account in the budget and allocated only $900,000 towards the solar debacle when the real cost was greater than $2 million. Spending went up by several percentage points, but taxes remained flat. This was a recipe for disaster.

Raiding reserve accounts and fund balance in order to balance budgets is an old trick used by politicians in election years. Unfortunately, this tends to create dramatic tax swings and huge tax forced tax increases, especially if the economy dips.

Through the hard work of the budget committee, tax hikes have decreased and stabilized, and both fund balance and reserve accounts are now in good shape. Moving forward, any tax increases should be at or below the rate of inflation. This means that in real (inflation adjusted) dollars the budget does not grow, and seniors who depend on Social Security will not be forced from their houses.

In addition to keeping tax increases at or below the rate of inflation, a written policy should be put into place that formalizes the debt management plan already being followed. Moving forward, this plan, which has already lowered the total county debt by over $3 million in 3 years, will continue to push debt down. As debt is lowered, money can be shifted from debt service and into capital projects, and one day the county can be debt free.