I still don't like how the town is going about the budget process, but at least there are a few rays of sunshine. First, it was OVERSPENDING that got the town into this budget problem to begin with. Second, the town raided other funds for several years to cover the shortfall. Then, they blamed the former town manager for the problems of overstating revenue. When you are relying on other funds to cover your difference between income and outflow, as directed by the previous town councils, of course you are going to show a budget deficit.
It's SPENDING that is the problem, not too low of a tax rate. At least the proposed tax rate increase has gone down by 7%. Still, I feel that most of the increase is not necessary. There are still budget areas that can be cut but are not happening. We just need to decide that we can do without certain services in this town.
Here is one suggestion. Sell the cemetary to a private corporation and let them do the upkeep and plot sales. Take the proceeds and put them towards municipal improvements instead of borrowing money to do so. Another suggestion has already come up in that we should go to the county dispatch for police services. Another suggestion came up at one council meeting, but is largely being ignored. Rent tower space to cell and pager companies on our water towers. The towers are already there, make use of the space to the public benefit, as well as that of business and the consumer.
At least the council and mayor are going to dispense with their compensation packages as a way to lead by example. It is not much money, anyway. I did not know that there was a benefits package attached to the salaries, though. That should be a permanent elimination, anyway. The Selma News reported it this way: "The town's mayor and council members suspended their salaries and benefits for the coming year ($21,000) to show town employees and citizens that they also are willing to make sacrifices." We still need more sacrifices than that. I am sure we can find more. We just have to do with less.