By: Steve Trubilla
Most people do not have an endless supply of money. They cannot just print more when they want it, or force others to give it to them. I say most people because there are those that do print their own money, and force others to give them what they have earned.
On one side of things it is called organized crime; on another it is called the government.
It is budget time again in Franklin County. Everything costs something, and someone has to pay for it.
Having written substantial "zero based" budgets myself, I understand the challenge of the task, and credit those that meet it. It is hard work.
Bureaucratic budgets are very much different from one's personal plan. I say plan because the words budget and plan are one in the same.
Responsible people plan/budget their finances to meet expenses and financial goals. If there is more month at the end of the money, something wanted loses priority to something needed. You may want to buy your little girl a special toy. You need gas to get to work to feed the family.
The reality of it can be painful. To avoid future pain the plan is adjusted.
Often, bureaucratic budgets are more of a popularity contest than they are a financial plan. There are great similarities. The contest between wants and needs plays out, just in a different way.
Most politicians want to get re-elected, and need people to vote for them. That is really their plan and true priority; they promise everyone "special toys." Then predictably in off-election years they raise taxes to pay for what is needed.
I almost said all politicians, but that would not have been fair. There are those few that are true public servants, but too few. Can you even name one?
Good news is sounded in the upcoming year's budget draft, "no tax increase." Yes a "special toy" if you will, for the "someone" that has to pay for things.
This year you will be allowed to keep a little more of what you earned. Pick your politician; given even the hint of opportunity, they will tell you how they fought off the increase. "Please be sure to remember this at election time."
Chances are you would leave the conversation feeling obligated to say, thank you.
This reminds me of a story where a captain was given a Bronze Star for leading a company of Marines out of a mine field. If you did not know the details of the story, the man's valor and resourcefulness may have called you to think why not a higher award. For on that day, his action did, without question, save the Marines' lives.
The rest of the story is the captain also led the company into the mine field.
According to a document on file by the North Carolina Department of Revenue for fiscal year 2016 -2017, Franklin County, of one hundred counties, has the third highest property tax rate.
This begs the question of: Why? Could it have something to do with the millions of dollars lost to settle lawsuits, millions spent and more money about to be for radios that do not work?
Maybe the millions spent on the courthouse and detention center simply because there was no plan for preventive maintenance have something to do with it.
Even after all the contract changes, and cost overruns there are still problems.
Do you think paying fines for sewer spills has something to do with it?
I could be wrong, but it kind of looks like we here in Franklin County are trying to be #1 when it comes to property tax rates.
There may not be a property tax increase this year, but I would hold off on giving out any medals or saying thank you, because it is coming.
The sewer pumping station issue in Youngsville is potentially going to cost millions. This has been known, and known for years. You may remember on this I said, three-day-old fish does not smell better on the fourth day. Well, it is stinking now!
When it comes to raising taxes, there are many ways to paint that wagon. Property re-valuation is one of them. Here it comes again. My bet is the increased revenue is already being spent.
What do you think the chances are of new business locating in Franklin County when that business has 97 other choices for lower property tax rates?
Oh, and have you heard, the county is hiring more people, and boosting spending.
I am so excited, aren't you?