County needs quick action, not handouts

Published 12:00 am Monday, June 6, 2005

For anyone familiar with the City of Ironton's ongoing financial woes, the trouble must seem contagious. The problems have crept into Lawrence County's budget, too.

"It's like deja vu all over again," Yogi Berra once said. And, while Berra wasn't talking about the county's budget, his humorous words certainly fit the county's situation.

Unfortunately, the situation in Lawrence County isn't a laughing matter.

Email newsletter signup

The problems should come as no surprise. Last year, the county predicted it would be behind on its budget and, not surprisingly, its prediction came true.

This budget year, the county commissioners drew an imaginary budget line in the sand and warned county department heads not to cross it.

Now, here we sit. Taxpayers scratching their heads wondering why the county's alleged leaders cannot seem to put aside their own egos and perceived political power long enough to actually get the budget problems under control.

The issues seem relatively simple: You cannot spend more than you make.

Despite that logic, and despite warnings by the county commissioners, we've seen little in the way of reducing expenses. Ideas have been discussed but we have seen little action. Instead of changing our spending, like a runaway train, the county keeps steaming toward the budget cliff.

Residents are worried that the county will end up having to close the sheriff's office in a few months when the sheriff's budget coffers run dry.

Last week, as if adding insult to injury, the county commissioners were working on ways to solve the budget issue. Their solution was simple: Ask a local judge for a handout.

That's right, the county leaders asked for $100,000 from Ironton Municipal Court Judge O. Clark Collins Jr., a contribution similar to the one Collins recently provided to the City of Ironton.

Has the county really sunk this low? Can't we begin seriously looking at ways to cut spending before we have to resort to begging?

Rather than shutting down the sheriff's office, for example, we'd prefer the county permanently close one of the entrances to the county courthouse and thus save half of the security expense.

That's only one of dozens of options that seem to be obvious ways to get some of the spending under control - quickly.

Instead of action, the county is still searching for the easy way out or is that a hand out.

What's our next plan? A lemonade stand? Or perhaps an organ grinder with a monkey and a tin cup?