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Long County financial issues questioned
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Editor, In February 2010, a group of citizens attended the Long County Commission meeting. Their main concern was the rise in taxes.
We do have to realize the governor removed our homeowners’ tax-relief grant and the school tax doubled — the county is not altogether to blame.
In these hard times, there have to be cuts made in expenditures on the county level. Don’t raise our taxes. The federal and state governments have cut back, especially the state, which impacts the county. Fixed-income citizens are hit hard, choosing between medicine and groceries already. If they have Medicare, at least $100-$200 is automatically taken out of their checks.
The county employees receive their insurance and the county pays 100 percent toward it. The citizens I talk to complain about the amount of clerks in several offices, also positions made this year in addition. Each position of $25,000 costs the tax payer at least $35,000.
The humane shelter is another sore spot. It’s a fact there are animals on the loose in the county and city and they could be a danger. Plans for a new building, land and an employee could be scaled back. The citizens see this as another drain on the taxpayers.
Mr. Wilson, former chairman, attended the meeting to defend a statement made by current Chairman Bobby Walker. He had stated that he had inherited a $1 million debt when he came into office on Jan. 1, 2009. This can’t be considered a debt; it was expenditures exceeding revenues. From January to June 30, the end of the fiscal year, approximately $5 million is collected and everything should be evened out.
Looking at the statements from the commissioner’s office, it shows the current board’s (as of Dec. 30, 2009) expenditures had exceeded the $1 million mark, but also collected most of the revenue in the period of Jan. 1 to June 30. Bank statements also showed $1 million in the general fund in June 2009.
During Mr. Wilson’s term from 2007-8, it also shows a $750,000 balance and $1 million, which was carried over to 2009.
The budget is set by revenues. According to the statements of Revenue and Expenditures, there are five sources of revenue: taxes, licenses and permits, intergovernmental revenues, charges and services and “other.” This is revenue that that doesn’t fit into the other categories. As of the end of the fiscal year, June 30, 2009, revenue was collected 91.87 percent and a shortage of 8.13 percent. This doesn’t sound like much, but it amounts to more than $500,000.
I questioned all of this at the March meeting. Mr. Shaw, a member of the commission, replied and told me it didn’t work like a home or business. I understand sometimes expenditures exceed revenue — especially July through December — and loans have to be acquired until the revenue catches up.
At the end of the fiscal year, June 30, it should be like a home or business. No more should be spent that comes in or trouble is on the horizon.

Janice M. Good
Long County
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