Home > County/Town Government and Politics, Fiscal Policy, The Economy > Supervisors Make Tough Calls, Smart Moves

Supervisors Make Tough Calls, Smart Moves

I mentioned last week that I’m moving the focus of this blog away from local politics. Before I do so, however, I wanted to make a few final comments about the Board of Supervisors and the tough decisions they currently face. 

A few weeks ago I was critical of the board for adding to the long term debt load for the County by putting down payments on two tracts of land for school expansion in Strasburg and Woostock. While I still disagree with the timing, it is an issue that the Board will have to deal with in the future in terms of long-term strategic planning. 

However, kudos is due to the board for doing their best to deal with loss in revenue from both local and state sources in these troubling times. They’re making a number of prudent cuts that will allow them to avoid a property tax increase in the immediate future. Amongst the most challenging cuts they’re facing: a quarter reduction of their own salaries. For a job that already requires such great sacrifice and fierce criticism with such little reward, this is a very valiant gesture on the part of the board. As it stands it has just been discussed by the Budget Committee, but at the least this is the sort of selfless choice you like to see public officials consider. 

Another key move: streamlining the movement of leachate at the landfill through the construction of a pipeline rather than trucking the material across 11. This was a good move from both a public safety and financial aspect, particularly as the price of fuel remains unstable. It didn’t get the attention it deserved (mostly because it was overshadowed by the school land purchase), but every little bit helps, and being able to point to this sort of innovation will certainly help the incumbent supervisors this fall. 

So kudos to the board for making the difficult decisions they have to. It will be interesting to see how the County’s debt load plays out in the next few years, but for the time being, the Board is doing what it needs to do by focusing on the tough decisions that need to be made now to ensure that property owners don’t have to suffer a tax hike during the current economic downturn. 

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