County voters should reject children#8217;s services levy

Published 12:00 am Friday, February 29, 2008

On Tuesday, Lawrence County voters will go to the polls to vote. We are being asked to vote for a one-mil levy to provide additional services by the county’s Job and Family Services Agency.

This is an additional levy that would subsidize or extend the services already funded by the state.

Do we need to be expanding services at a time when everybody else is cutting back in order to stay within their budget?

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Our economy is in trouble. Gasoline prices are more than $3 a gallon, food prices are up 20 percent and everyone is cutting back on spending to make ends meet. How can anyone in charge of a county agency justify asking for more money to expand their operation?

We have too much government to fund already — we don’t need anymore.

Beginning this year our real estate property values were increased on an average of 13 percent. With this new value property owners would have to pay $789,104 per year for five years to fund the Family Services proposal, although the state will actually pay about 10 percent of this.

The market value of Lawrence County went from $2.056 billion to $2.255 billion for an increased of $198.3 million. Now after all this, we still don’t have enough money for the county to run a routine operation.

Something is wrong with this picture. We need to stop hiring new employees, stop the pay raises, cut expenses and stay within the budget.

What we need is some sound oversight of the entire mess.

The only thing we as voters and taxpayers have is our vote.

We need to elect people who are qualified to run the county operations, rather than electing them for their political connections. We also need to vote against all tax levies.

Our county commissioners are running for re-election. They are the ones who voted to place this additional one mil levy on the ballot.

The ordinance, submitted by them to the board of elections, does not do enough to earmark or direct how these funds will be used.

The ballot language is too loosely worded so that the director of the agency can spend the money any way he sees fit for Children’s Services.

This is unacceptable.

The property owners are the ones who always have to pay 100 percent of the taxes that are enacted.

This is very unfair.

This discourages ownership and keeps people from wanting to live here.

We need to find other sources for needed revenue.

I recommend the voters of Lawrence County vote against this levy — it is neither justified nor required.