The Smithfield Herald publisher seems to get it when it comes to the budget in Selma. I just read the opinion columns written in the Herald the past few weeks on the topic. You'd think that the editors read my blog...hey, maybe... And if you are reading and you need a columnist, my contact link is to the right of the page in front of you.
Anyway, the opinion column below is right on. I have asked the same question as in the end of the first paragraph. Keep in mind the names you read in the column when you vote again in three years and they are up for re-election.
Taxpayers ought to come first
Over the past few weeks, we've had e-mails and phone calls from Selma residents who have said our criticisms of the town's spending choices have been right on. That suggests to us that Selma's elected leaders would suffer no political harm from slashing a town payroll that is clearly bigger than taxpayers can afford. So the question becomes: Why are Selma leaders reluctant to do so?
Obviously, no one enjoys the task of handing an employee a pink slip. In Selma, town employees no doubt need their jobs, and no one on the Town Council wants to send them to the unemployment line.
But employees are just one Town Council constituency -- and a relatively small one at that. Selma citizens and business owners are the biggest constituencies, and more important, they are the ones who pay the town's bills. We suspect Selma council members, in their reluctance to fire hardworking public employees, have lost sight of the fact that their ultimate responsibility is to the people whose tax and fee dollars pay the bills.
In particular, Councilwomen Debbie Johnson and Jackie Lacy have been loath to cut the town's payroll. Last week, they were the lone holdouts when a council majority voted to turn police dispatching over to the county.
We appreciate the fact that Selma leaders care about the town's employees. We'd appreciate it even more if they showed the same concern for the town's taxpayers.