Tiny windfall doesn’t fix county woesPublished 9:45am Friday, February 22, 2013
Lawrence County Treasurer Stephen Burcham may have been bearing good news when he told the county commissioners that tax collections are more than $100,000 ahead of where they were last year, but that shouldn’t change the county’s insistence on smart spending and staying within a budget.
This is certainly positive news but so much remains uncertain that to start celebrating is premature.
Burcham certainly deserves some of the credit for aggressively pushing collections, implementing more ways for people to pay and focusing on plans for individuals or businesses that may be struggling.
Certainly every step to help the county receive its tax dollars quicker is a positive one.
But this shouldn’t change the mindset of the commissioners or other officeholders who have been asked to tighten their belts. The reality is that $100,000 is just small change in the county’s multi-million dollar budget.
The county is already relying on one unknown in the casino revenues, although these were budgeted conservatively, to balance a tight budget.
Human tendency, especially when departmental budgets have been cut so drastically, is to immediately start spending any surpluses or windfalls that were unaccounted for.
That approach has to be avoided and a more conservative tact can lay the foundation for the county’s future.