To the editor:
Is your local government working for you?
How far have we grown? The county commissioners have just increased your taxes by 1.8 mills, which is actually a 20 percent increase in mills.
At a recent meeting, the commissioners stated that we are an aging population in Somerset County and more and more people need assistance.
After reviewing the 2010 and 2011 budgets, you will see just how the commissioners have assisted our aging population.
The commissioners decreased human services, which represents children youth services, agency on aging, drug and alcohol, MH/MR, child day care, veteran services, etc. by 5.81 percent or $597,189. But the commissioners saw fit to increase Culture/Recreation, which represents funding of libraries and trail maintenance by 252 percent or $1,114,136. From this, one must surmise that the commissioners must believe the aging population wants to read more and walk more?
In reviewing the Top Ten General Fund Dependent Departments, we are paying for the county jail, retirement (ARC), maintenance, and other uses (Que water project) $7,402,044 and for children youth services, adult probation, juvenile probation, tax assessment, court administration, and the district attorney, $3,280,007. The commissioners are putting your tax dollars to work for you.
Finally, the commissioners will tell you that the mandates placed on them by the state make up two thirds of their budget, but they don’t like to tell you that in addition to the mandates you owe another $32 million in unfunded liabilities.
Don’t you think we need to look seriously at decreasing the budget by making tough decisions, and this may require the employees paying more of their benefits, just like the private sector? You should not ask an aging population, who are on fixed incomes, during times of increased food and fuel prices, and yes inflationary times, to maintain your cash flow.
We need commissioners who make the tough decisions and are really there for the people. Please get to know more about your commissioners and how they spend your money, and then make the best choice when you go to the polls.