Sunday, March 13, 2011

New Guy Posts on Watauga County Budget

NewGuy posted: I was interested in hearing the views of our Republican county commissioners about the referendum for a proposed sales tax increase.

I talked to Vince Gable and to Nathan Miller about it. (I didn't get a chance to talk to David Blust but Vince and Nathan assure me that his position is pretty much in line with theirs).

From what I understood, the county has, in addition to normal budget items for county schools, services, etc, now having to pay millions of dollars annually in servicing the debt that the prior commissioners burdened this county with. Add to that the very real possibility that the state government, facing a serious deficit due to their years of outlandish spending under Democrat rule, are likely to push some costs down to the county level. These are things like workman's compensation for teachers, school buses, etc which have previously been paid for with state funds.

Knowing that our county budget will be difficult under any circumstances, and recognizing that there is a POSSIBILITY of state mandated costs to the county which cannot be funded with current revenues, the commissioners have - as a contingency - opened the possibility of a sales tax increase and have decided to ask for public input on whether or not to pursue a referendum for raising taxes.

Miller and Gable BOTH stated that they personally might not vote for a sales tax increase IF such a referendum were held - but, that given the possibility of heavy cuts from the states, some additional revenue sources might need to be considered, they decided to make arrangements for public input.

I have to applaud them for their decision. I too, am against a sales tax increase, but given the unknown costs to the county of potential state decisions, developing contingencies is certainly not a bad idea.

I will be at the county courthouse TUESDAY at 6pm for the public input session with the county commissioners.

I hope to see as many of you there as possible!

28 comments:

Anonymous said...

'Doublespeak.

NewGuy said...

Let me add to my above post, both Dan Soucek and Jonathon Jordan committed at the convention that they were going to do all within their power to make sure that the state budget was NOT balanced at the expense of the county!

If they are successful in that regard, the three Republican commissioners believe they can balance the county budget WITHOUT any tax increases.

Of course, as I stated right after the election, I don't envy them the job! Everybody wants to save tax money, but nobody wants their favorite programs cut.

You saw how HARRY REID went ballistic when the Republican House of Representatives voted to cut off Federal funding for a convention of cowboy poets in Nevada!

Now, I ask you, If Harry Reid thinks Cowboy Poet Funding by the federal govt is ESSENTIAL, what does he consider appropriate for budget cuts?
March 12, 2011 2:01 PM

Anonymous said...

We were against it before we were for it. What a load of....

NewGuy said...

anon....if that is what you got from my post, then I apologize for my inability to communicate.

At any rate, I hope you will show up at the courthouse and express your opinions during the public comment session, scheduled for Tuesday at 6PM in the large courtroom.

guy faulkes said...

If Liberal Anonymous shows up to speak, I hope he is more coherent than he has been in his posts. This is probably a forlorn hope.

New Guy, I would not worry about if Anonymous understands you. As with Liberalproverbs18:2, it is hard for him to understand anything when he has his fingers in his ears, his eyes tightly shut, and is chanting La La La La La.

Anonymous said...

Time to CUT, CUT, CUT that is what needs to be done. If you can not afford the program it needs to be CUT! Saleries and Wages is always the best place to start. How can we give them the ability to increase sales tax without fist seeing what they will CUT? BTW, from the article in the WD are we (the county) going to give the Watauga Co. schools the 1 mil they asked for in anticipation of Perdue's budget? I like to think we are giving our schools everything we can but COME ON . . . CUT, CUT, CUT.

Anonymous said...

I am very troubled by this...The only reason they are against it is because the conservatives that elected them spoke out! WHAT ARE YOU GUYS DOING????? I heard throughout the campaign that to raise revenues we had to CUT taxes...If so, then CUT THEM! Sounds like we didn't vote in the conservative LEADERS I thought we had. Also, why spend $20-30,000 to hold an election that the commissioners don't want passed??? Where is the COMMON SENSE?! We got fooled once. Not again!

Anonymous said...

I agree with cutting expenses ....and particularly those expenses that aren't crucial to our county.

Identifying what is not crucial, is the hard part.

I am not in favor of cutting pay for county employees who are at the low end of the pay scales. Sheriff deputies making just over $30,000 a year certainly are not overpaid! The same is true for many others.

Liberal POV said...

Republicans

Am I to understand the Republicans want the hard working Watauga county employees, Watauga's school teachers and students to feel the pain of budget cuts saving people like the Templtons from the pain of a property tax increase or the new Know Nothing Republicans office holders from the embarassment of a sales tax increase?

Republicans have no concept of the word "Justice" and have no vision for the future.

Liberal POV said...

Republicans

NPR and PBS should have a bias against ignorance, bigotry and misinformation.

Unfortunately much of the Republican political power is derived from ignorance, bigotry and misinformation.

Below are a few.

Death Panels
Gay Bigotry
Muslim Religious Bigotry
Religious Right conservatives believing the world is only 6000 years old.
Birthers
Anti Global Climate change

"There may be some fundamental anti-Americanism in this President," the radio host suggested, and Mike Huckabee

"Most of us grew up going to Boy Scout meetings, and our communities were filled with Rotary Clubs, not madrasahs."

To which one can only say, Ick. Of course, Obama was raised in neither Kenya nor Indonesia (where he did spend four years) but in Hawaii, by his Kansas Republican grandparents. He was a Boy Scout. He didn't attend a madrasah. There are a multitude of Rotary Clubs in both Indonesia and Hawaii. And about that anticolonialism business, isn't that why we, especially the Teasies among us, adore the Founding Fathers? But the facts aren't nearly as virulent as the insinuations. That Huckabee was able to associate the President with the terms mau-mau and madrasah on successive days has to qualify as sheer, surgical brilliance. For those of a certain age — my age — mau-mau has a certain resonance, our first association with half-crazed black militancy.

Read more: http://www.time.com/time/politics/article/0,8599,2058079,00.html#ixzz1Ga86ULNp

Anonymous said...

The problem is that the Lying Ignorant Bastard doesn't understand anything.

Anonymous said...

To - Liberal POV
Are you kidding me, do you honestly think this is about a property tax increase. Say you get the ¼ sales tax increase passed this year . . . what about next year . . . you still can not afford this county’s current expenses So to help you a little that means . . . yes, property tax increases. No one (Republican or Democrat) will be able to stop it. It’s called a “Balanced Budget”, try it sometime. Unless the positions are cut and jobs reapportioned we’ll just keep on paying. Also, did anyone notice that Deal was not even present at the last county meeting where the referendum was discussed. He’s to embarrassed to show his face. He knew all along the county would be faced with these expenses and STILL wanted to pass the ¼ percent for the Recreation Center. Liberal POA do you know what that would have meant?

NewGuy said...

Click here to take survey

Anonymous said...

Took it, thank you!

Liberal POV said...

Anonymous

Who's back ask to carry the load of the short fall?

The Democrats managed to keep Watauga County's Tax rate one of the lowest in NC and still provide good services for the citizens of Watauga County.

Now that we have Republicans in power we can look forward to a tax rate similar to adjoining Republican counties and a decrease in services to the citizens like those counties.

Republicans are never on the side of working citizens.

inquiringmind said...

THE SPIGOT HAS BEEN TURNED OFF
We learned in August 2010 that Resolutions are NOT BINDING. We also learned that although you tell us how you are going to spend the money, you are not allowed to earmark or restrict the money for any particular use. Again, we would have to trust you or whoever is on the board down the road. So, what we have here is nothing different than we had in August 2010. You claim the difference is that this sales tax will be used to pay down debt while the last sales tax proposal was to make more debt. In reality things are not any different; taxes are being raised when it is absolutely NOT necessary. The taxes didn’t need to be raised in August because we didn’t need any more debt. The taxes don’t need to be raised now because you have not taken care of the problem that got us to this point. Raising taxes will just compound that problem.
1) We have surplus property that needs to be sold.
2) We have a fund balance that is over 35% of our operating expenses.

inquiringmind said...

We were told that the old high school property was worth $36 million. Then we were told that you had 3 bona fide bids, the highest $32 million. You told us that your advisors told you to hold onto the property; that it would be worth more in 4 years. You told us that it wasn’t reasonable to pay a lease. You thought we wouldn’t notice that the lease payments equaled the debt interest. And, you didn’t think we would remember that you told us you had an appraisal for $14 million on the property. And, now we are hearing the same old song and dance; you say you have an interested buyer. Here is where the trust factor comes into play. I personally don’t think you ever had any real bids; as corrupt as things have been since 2004; this was a strategy to get citizen and LGC approval for the enormous $100+ million debt.
You newly elected commissioners are saying we had nothing to do with that. From my seat, the same people are involved in the land negotiations and pulling the strings. Have the advisors changed? OF COURSE NOT! You need to put that old high school on the auction block; if you have an interested buyer, they’ll make their bid.

inquiringmind said...

Our financial statement shows an unreserved fund balance of over $16 million in the general fund and over $3 million in the capital reserve fund. The combined total is over $20 million. Do you plan on buying something else? Have you got some more opportunities to invest in? Do you have some more debt you want to leverage? This “rainy day fund” turned “slush fund” has been successfully used to leverage us into this debt situation. So, why not use it to get us out of this debt situation instead of hoarding it for some more of the same.
The LGC says we should keep 8% of our operating expenses in the unreserved fund for cash flow. That’s $3.5 million. So what about the rest? The LGC says the rest can be used to meet unforeseen needs in the next budget year. What about that remaining $16.5 million? Do you know that most counties, of our population; with the same amount of operating expenses, have ½ of what we have in their unreserved fund?
In 2005 we were arguing this same point with Commissioner Deal. He said we didn’t have a large fund balance. Then he came back a month later claiming the money was earmarked. Then, he took $2.5 million and bought the Smitherman Winkler Property from one of his clients. And, there it sits; contaminants and all. Then our taxes were raised. And, the rest is history. The Republicans build it up and the Democrats leverage it to bury us in debt. And, now you want to continue to hoard it.
You say that you will call for a referendum to repeal the tax in 3 years. How can you promise this? Commissioners Gable, Deal and Futrelle, you are up for election in 2012. Who are the commissioners going to be? How can YOU say what another board will do? This is an empty promise based on trust. Trust who?

inquiringmind said...

Cut your PADDED budget.
Stop your spending.
Freeze capital projects.
Auction off surplus property.
Spend down that Rainy Day/Slush Fund.
DON’T COME TO US FOR A TAX INCREASE!
You have given me your crystal ball vision of the future. Let me give you mine. Democrats take control in 2012. The sales tax is not repealed; there is no referendum to repeal the tax and the tax is used to leverage more debt. Why do I think the Democrats could take control? Because Republicans proposed a tax increase when citizens just got through saying no and voted you in to take care of the problem and not to make it worse!
A BIT OF ADVICE. Get your own advisors and take control of the situation!

Anonymous said...

Well said inquiringmind, let's just hope their listening. Should be an interesting meeting tonight. Hope there is a good turn out.

NewGuy said...

Good posts Inquiring Mind. I hope you stay and keep posting on this blog!

Johnny Rico said...

If the lying Republican RINOs on our County Commission do the same thing the Democrats wanted to do - raise taxes, then they should be voted out. Nothing changes in politics does it? You would think the RINOs would've taken a lesson from the last election and cut taxes instead of considering raising them. Amazing. These folks are true idiots (like the POVs). Reminds me of Judge Phil Ginn who wants to install metal detectors in the courthouse to deprive Americans of their 4th Amendment rights; at taxpayer expense. We need some serious house cleaning in 2012. This whole new crop of Commissioners needs voting out even if it means a liberal socialist gets the job. Better to know your enemy is an enemy than to be backstabbed by a RINO. Kind of like the worthless Virginia Foxx and Richard Burr when they colluded with the crooked Blowing Rock Town Council to defraud sportsmen and women of 190 acres of public hunting land on China Creek. Nothing like a RINO is there?

Vote the County Commissioners out in 2012 and replace them with a CONSERVATIVE who values the taxpayer as an asset, not a cash cow.

Johnny Rico

PS Liberal idiot povs, you were included in the above post, but you will have to look for it. Concentration is not something your known for, but put down that doobie and read! LOL!!

Anonymous said...

If I recall, only the Republican commissioners voted to have the referendum. The Democrat present voted against it by saying, "we have balanced the budget the last couple of years without raising taxes." I voted for a couple of these Repubs and I can't believe what I'm seeing. Inquiring Mind hit it on the head! However, I have to disagree with everyone placing the power all on Deal. He is ONE vote, the Repubs have THREE. This is their mess now.

Anonymous said...

Well, just left the Watauga County meeting. Seems like the teachers in the area had a plan to take it over. You would think that someone who teaches our students would be smart enough to understand that this is a budget issue not an education one. How about all teachers taking a ten percent pay cut like many other people in this county have already done. This would help! If it bothers you so much let Perdue (your elected official) know about it. Stop making the county commissioners look like they are not for KIds education. This is about not spending money we do not have. Hey, you know I guess if I was looking to "save" my job I would want to be at the meeting to. Get ready people . . . The times they are a changing !

Liberal POV said...

Anonymous

"How about all teachers taking a ten percent pay cut like many other people in this county have already done."

What assholes! You sorry ass greedy local conservatives think teachers should have the Watauga County budget balanced by cutting their salaries by $4000.00 or more per year so your greedy ass doesn't have to pay $50.00 per more in sales tax per year.

You ignorant Rush groupies want to avoid your civic responsibllity of supporting the education of the children of Watauga County. You want a return of the dark ages. Lets hope the Republican commissioners have a little more sense than the Tea Party Mob of Know Nothing Rush groupies.

guy faulkes said...

Liberalproverbs18:2, you are incredible. You would prefer to have the county employees other than teachers bear the burden of tax cuts and job losses. You would prefer that deputies, employees at the courthouse, or the guys that work at the land fill take cuts or possibly lose their jobs.

Due to the extravagant spending by the previous commission, we are heavily in debt and have to pay the debt back. In this economy we do not need additional spending (the county is not cutting it's education budget to my knowledge so you want them to increase it.)or taxes to fund this spending. Increased taxes used to pay of the debt would be nearly as bad, but at least they would have somewhat of a positive effect.

You claim to be a champion of the working man, but it is apparent you only support some of them. You could care less about others. You are a hypocrite.

I call you Liberalproverbs18:2 because it fits you so well. However, Lying Ignorant Bastard may fit you even better. I will have to think about this.

Liberal POV said...

Guy

" You would prefer to have the county employees other than teachers bear the burden of tax cuts and job losses. You would prefer that deputies, employees at the courthouse, or the guys that work at the land fill take cuts or possibly lose their jobs. "

You seem to think your poor debating skills improve if you can lie about what I said.

I'm on the side of ALL wage earning Americans not the greedy billionaire capitalist you support over people near your own income level.

Why would a working man like yourself living in a double wide support billionaires over his own fellow workers?

Liberal POV said...

Guy and conservatives

You keep proving me wrong.

I've been posting here for over two years thinking you are really good people but misinformed buy lots of money that keeps you misinformed.

The money funding the misinformation is certainly there but I seem to be wrong about local conservatives being basically good people.

You keep proving other wise.