Thursday, July 31, 2008

Fiscal Responsibility in Jefferson County

Jefferson County Mayor Alan Palmieri deserves a medal of courage after standing up against a County Commission that doesn't know how to budget creatively and would break the backs of property owners -especially those of modest means or on fixed incomes:

"I do not support and I cannot justify this large an increase (in property taxes)," Palmieri stated in a letter to Commission Chair Phillip Kindred and Finance Director Mike Long. "This levies a heavy impact on our residents, especially the elderly, those on fixed incomes, and the poor."

If you live in Jefferson County, you know there are a lot of people here on fixed incomes. While it is understandable that many locales have had to make budget choices the regretfully include a tax increase because of fuel prices (White Pine is a good example), most local municipal authorities have tried to keep these increases to the absolute minimum. It is clear that the Jefferson County Commission has no intention of doing that, and Mayor Palmieri was very right to veto the budget under these circumstances.

The proposed increase is 22 cents on the hundred, a tax hike so massive that some people on fixed incomes may not be able to survive it. As we've already seen this year, the Jefferson County Commission isn't exactly the brightest bunch in the political firmament. As the Mayor points out, these bean bags can't even follow procedure correctly:

"Proper procedures have not been followed," he said. "It is improper to close out a previous year's budget without having approved (those) budget amendments."

In other words, these people closed out a budget year without approving the necessary amendments for the previous budget year.

Now the County Commission is threatening to override the Mayor's veto. They don't care about the people this oppressive and inhumane tax increase will impact. We need to make them care.

County Commission needs to know that we the citizens expect them to do more with less, and that while we are willing to make sacrifices to insure that basic services are rendered, we are unwilling to break our own backs because County Commission doesn't know how to budget more responsibly.

Write or call your Jefferson County Commissioners, and let them know that you support Mayor Palmieri's stand for fiscal responsibility. Let's tell the Commission that we want the budget reworked to ease the people's suffering, and we support Mayor Palmieri's veto of the current version of the budget. These folks all need to be reminded that they are up for election in two years, and the people will remember.

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