Good call, commission

Published 7:20 pm Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Just a third of the way into the fiscal year, Chilton County’s government has declared emergency spending. That means they are unsure whether this year’s revenues will be sufficient for expenditures.

Considering the economic situation, we think the commission made a good decision. When money is short and revenue is slow coming in, why not do everything possible to minimize spending?

There will be a right way and a wrong way to handle the situation. The right way might involve some difficult decisions.

First of all, it’s the commission’s responsibility to make sure county department heads understand the situation. This might dissolve some unnecessary requests before they are made. As in any financial strait, necessity should take precedence over luxury, and all purchase order requests should be prioritized carefully.

Secondly, they must still see that the county’s needs are met. The need for law enforcement continues despite the county’s economic hardships. Fortunately, there are special provisions for the sheriff’s department and county jail.

You could compare the commission to a large family struggling to meet its daily, weekly and monthly needs. It’s simply a matter of not spending money you don’t have, and seeing that everyone is treated fairly. Like a family must live within its means to avoid financial turmoil, the county must live within its means.

This responsibility trickles down to each department head and anyone else in charge of spending.

Also, locating new and existing revenue sources must be a priority. Commissioner Red Turnipseed is looking at mobile home tags, an area where the county appears to be losing revenue due to the need for enforcement.

It would be unwise to pursue new revenue sources when we are not getting everything we could out of already-existing sources.

It’s good that commissioners are thinking about these things. We hope they will address them accordingly.