Is there any doubt now?

Published 7:37 pm Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Is there any doubt at this point that the county’s finances are in a dismal state? Is there any doubt that a solution must be found to solve this problem quickly?

Late last week, Chilton County Tax Collector Tim Little said his department no longer had the funds to send out thousands of tag renewal reminders each month.

In the past few weeks, as we have reported the county’s financial condition, we have seen comments about the need for commissioners to give up their paychecks or to just cut people from the county’s payroll. Is that really the solution to this problem?

The commissioners– not a single one of them– sought the elected office for the pay. It is not much, nor does it add much to the county’s expenses. Should they cut out funded trips? Maybe, but the payroll doesn’t need changing.

And, cutting personnel is not the answer–at least not cutting more than they already have. Some departments are already well understaffed, leading to slower customer service or delayed county services. Would cutting more help either the bottom line or our county? No.

While The Advertiser opposed the recent county business license effort, we did so because it was a vague bill that the newspaper felt gave too much authority to the commission to levy business license fees. The paper never said the county did not need the revenue, nor did the paper oppose the commission’s effort to generate more revenue.

In the coming weeks and months, the commission has said they will be working on a new budget, complete with additional cuts and revenue enhancements.

It is important to remember when county support is needed for these revenue enhancements that it is the services we rely on every day that must be funded. If not, cutting payroll will not give us the results we want.